AvantGuard's Industry Glossary

A

AC Power

AC power is a form of electricity that is supplied from a plug-in transformer and is measured by the number of cycles it produces.

Access Control

Access Control is a form of security that restricts access to unauthorized users at predetermined checkpoints, usually doorways, or building lobbies. Varying levels of access can be granted to personnel based on their needs and responsibilities.

Affiliated Monitoring

One of the larger wholesale monitoring companies in the United States, Affiliated Monitoring is characterized by its strong focus on the PERS industry and PERS event, Catalyst.

Alarm

An alarm can take both audible and visual forms to emit warnings to device users and alarm monitoring centers alike. Alarms typically use loud and bright signals to avoid any confusion about whether or not there is an emergency.

Alarm Battery

Batteries can be used to power wireless alarm devices or security system control panels as backup power sources or primary sources. Lithium batteries generally last longer than traditional alkaline alarm batteries.

Alarm Communication Path

The Alarm Communication Path is the method a security system uses to communicate with a monitoring center. The Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) is the most common type of communication path that is used in security systems.
With advances in wireless technologies, other more secure communication paths such as cellular alarm monitoring are gaining popularity. Internet protocol (IP) monitoring and dual path (Cellular/IP) monitoring are some other communication paths that do not require a hardwired telephone line to be present at the property.

Alarm Device

In addition to the central panel where the security system is controlled, additional peripheral devices can be attached to the panel to detect emergency events and communicate them to the panel. Some examples of devices are glass break sensors, door sensors and fire detectors.

Alarm Event

Once an emergency has been detected by a device, an alarm event is communicated to the control panel which forwards the signal to the central station.

Alarm Factor

An indicator that measures the health of an installation company's signal traffic. Calculated weekly or monthly, an alarm factor is calculated by dividing the total number of accounts by the number of signals received by the monitoring center. Companies that have a poor alarm factor may have installation issues or poor customer education systems in place.

Alarm Monitoring

Devices that track emergency situations can be connected to an alarm monitoring service which ensures that users are protected at all hours of the day by a central station operator.

Alarm Notification Device

One option security systems can include is an audible or visual alarm system that alerts people in a designated area. They are designed to be exceptionally loud and/or bright in order to remove any doubt about the nature of the alarm (e.g. sirens, speakers, strobes, etc.).

Alarm Signal

The first event that occurs, once an emergency has been detected, is initiated by an alarm device and transmitted by a control panel to a monitoring center. Depending on the type of signal and account instructions, the operator will either call the subscriber or alert emergency services immediately.

Alarm Transmitter

Within the alarm device itself, another electronic device wirelessly transmits an alarm signal from an alarm device to a burglar alarm control panel. Without the transmitter, the detection has no communication path to take.

Alarm Verification

Once an alarm is received by the central station, depending on the type of alarm, it must first be verified to ensure that an actual intrusion has taken place. One way operators can investigate is by leveraging an integrated video feed, which utilizes cameras that are installed in the same area as the alarm device so the central station operators can review the feed to determine what caused the alarm.
Audio verification utilizes microphones that record audio which operators can review. Call verification requires that an operator connect with a user to verify the alarm.

Ambient Temperature

Within a building space, the ambient temperature measures the environment surrounding an alarm device. In addition to home and commercial automation, temperature measurement is crucial for environmental monitoring where regulation compliance maintains the life of a product.

Apprehension

Local police officers are responsible for the investigation and apprehension of people who break laws. An apprehension is the arrest of a suspected criminal which results from the police department responding to an alarm.

Arm

In order to activate an alarm system, it must be "armed." In other words, so that a device can be armed, it must be activated so it is ready to detect an alarm event.

Arming Sequence

The arming sequence is the amount of time a security system takes to go from its armed status to its disarmed status.

Artificial Intelligence

Also known as machine intelligence, it is a form of intelligence that is demonstrated by machines. Essentially, machines using artificial intelligence are capable of perceiving its environment and taking actions that help it to achieve a goal.

Audible Alarm

Once a predetermined parameter has been broken, and a signal has been sent to the alarm panel, an audible alarm emits a high pitched sound to alert people in a given area that an emergency situation has occurred or is occurring.

Audio Verification

Once an alarm has been triggered, an operator can use recorded audio from the area an alarm was triggered in order to investigate its validity. This does not always paint a clear picture since burglars do not need to make a lot of noise when entering a premises.

Authority Level

An authority level is a designation that is assigned to each user on a device which determines the specific functions or areas a user can access. For example, not all users are allowed to change core functions in an alarm panel, just as much as not all people are allowed to access specific areas like homes or areas of an office building.

Auxiliary Panic Keys

Programmed to activate different types of distress signals (Burglar, Fire, Hold Up/Panic, Medical). Always work, regardless of whether or not the main security system is armed.

B

Babysitter Code

When someone other than a primary user needs to disarm a system when visiting, a lower-authority user code can arm the security system anytime, but can only disarm the system if the babysitter code was used to arm it. . Once the system has been armed with a normal user code the babysitter code will no longer function to disarm it.

Backup Alarm Battery

In the event that a device loses connection to electricity, a back-up alarm battery ensures that a security system will continue to work after losing AC power. Back-up alarm batteries typically power a system for a 24-hour period.

Bandwidth

In an internet connection, bandwidth is the capacity of the transmission medium stated in bits per second and as a frequency. It can also be the amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. For digital devices, the bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps) or bytes per second. For analog devices, the bandwidth is expressed in cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz).

Biometric Code

Used on some locks; provides greater security than a numbered code on a standard lock. Only the individual with the exact fingerprint, DNA, or different type of identifying input can open the lock.

Biometrics

An alternative to using passcode access methods, biometrics is the mehtod of identifying an individual based on physiological or behavioral inputs such as matching eye patterns, fingerprints or voice tone.

Blockchain

Originally designed to protect virtual currency transactions, blockchain introduces unparallelled security features that can be leveraged in IoT devices. It uses multiple networks to create an coded message that requires network consensus before it can be changed.

Burglar

Someone who gains unauthorized access to a residential or commercial area to steal items of value.

Burglar Alarm System

An electronic system that consists of alarm devices that are connected to a control panel through a low-voltage, hardwire or narrowband RF wireless signal. A burglar alarm system can be monitored professionally by a central station or individually by the user.

Burglary

An unauthorized entry of a secure location which results in the damage and/or theft of property.

Business Security

Securing the property and assets of a business or organization using burglar alarm systems, access control systems, and/or video surveillance. Businesses, due to the large number of people using the security systems, often need multiple user codes and sometimes utilize scheduled arming and disarming.

Bypass

To bypass a zone is to remove it from service by directing the security system to ignore a specified area. A bypass can be automatically removed when the security system is disarmed.

C

CAA - California Alarm Association

The california Alarm Associaiton is a body of individuals who contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the security alarm industry. IN addition to the scholarships, training and group improvement initiatives, the CAA works with legislative organizations to take appropriate legal action for the benefit and wellbeing of security alarm companies.

Call Verification

After an alarm signal is received in the central station, the operator makes several call verifications to investigate whether or not a received signal is due to a false alarm. The first call made is usually to the site where the alarm occurred. If the call is answered, the operator asks for a password from a pre-assigned person. If there the call goes unanswered, depending on local dispatch regulations, a call will be made to have police investigate the situation. If the local regulations require it, the operator will try several other phone numbers to try and reach someone. In some jurisdictions, operators are required to call at least two different phone numbers before requesting dispatch. This is called Enhanced verification, and it has been found to significantly reduce false alarms.

Caller ID Injection

In order to have calls from the wholesale monitoring center appear to come from the customer-facing company, the wholesale monitoring center can provide Caller ID Injection. This service helps increase answer rates and improve customer experience because the name correlates with the company the customer chose to work with.

Carbon Monoxide Detector (CO)

A device that detects the presence of the toxic gas carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless compound which is lethal at high concentration. If enough carbon monoxide is detected, the device sounds an alarm, giving people in the area a chance to ventilate the area or safely leave the building. Carbon monoxide is produced from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels.

Category 5 (CAT-5) Wire:

A twisted cable that is designed to withstand a high signal rate. It is commonly referred to as Cat-5 wire and has since been superseded by the “Category 5e” specification. The Cat-5 cable is most frequently used to construct computer networks, and is also used to carry additional signals such as basic voice services, token ring, and ATM data.

Cellular Alarm Monitoring

A type of alarm communication path that uses a digital cellular network to send alarm signals from the control panel to a monitoring center's cellular receivers. This type of alarm monitoring requires a digital cellular communicator that is hardwired into the security system and a cellular monitoring contract. Cellular monitoring does not require phone lines, and there is no chance of the purposeful or accidental cutting of your alarm communication line. Therefore, cellular monitoring is one of the most reliable ways to monitor a security system. Cellular devices can also be mobile, providing an opportunity for the central station to monitor the physical location of the devices as necessary.

Central Monitoring Station

The operations center where signals are received and emergency action is taken. Central stations typically monitor security systems, PERS devices, fire and gas alarms, as well as a collection of Internet of Things (IoT) devices

Central Station Operator

A person who works in a central monitoring station whose job is to respond to incoming alarm signals and follow appropriate dispatch procedures. The best central station operators  are empathetic, pay close attention to detail and have a deep passion for service.

Central Station Redundancyu

When a disaster hits, central station redundancy ensures that device users will continue to be protected, even if a major system in the central monitoring station loses functionality.

Central Station Technology

In order to properly protect subscribers, central station technology must consist of an advanced array of primary and backup systems that eliminate downtime in the event of a natural disaster or system malfunction, otherwise known as redundancy. Central station technology serves as the backbone to any monitoring operation.

CES - Consumer Electronics Show

An industry event that covers more than electronic security, "CES is the world's gathering place for all those who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for 50 years." CES is one of the largest events that alarm-monitoring businesses attend, reaching more than 185K attendees and 4.4K exhibiting companies.

Commercial Security

A form of security system that is specifically designed for office spaces, warehouses, restaurants, retail spaces and others. Commercial security systems typically differ from residential systems in the way they are scaled to accommodate multiple users and a collection of sensors in specific areas for better emergency detection.

Control Panel

The central unit that controls the sensors and detectors it is connected to. In essence, it is the brain of the entire security system. Each sensor reports to the control panel so it can translate them and determine if they need to be forwarded to the central monitoring station.

COPS Monitoring

One of the largest wholesale monitoring companies in the United States, COPS Monitoring is best known for its heavy focus in the security monitoring industry. Because of its single large client, COPS has a heavy concentration risk factor, leaving its other clients at potential risk if the client were to switch providers.

CSAA - Central Station Alarm Association

See TMA - The Monitoring Association.

D

Detector

A sensor that is dedicated to identifying significant changes in environmental factors such as: gas levels, temperature, brightness and sound frequencies. Detectors that belong to a monitored system always communicate to a central panel.

Digital Cellular Communicator

An electronic device that delivers a cellular connection between a security system and the central monitoring station. Cellular communicators have built-in SIM cards and leverage pre-existing wireless networks. It sends alarm signals from the security system to the central monitoring station without the need for a POTS line. Because of its lack of wires, a cellular communicator is much more secure than a traditional wires that can be cut.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

A related collection of technologies that transmits data through a local telephone network. DSL can be used at the same time–and on the same telephone line with regular telephone transmissions–as it uses high frequency, while telephone lines use low frequency. Alarm communications can be transmitted over DSL but they require a special filter to prevent interference between the two.

Disarm

The action of turning off the control panel of a security system. In this stage, none of the sensors will be monitoring alarm events like opening doors, breaking glass, and more.

Dispatch

The operating service that relays event information to emergency responders like the fire department and the police department. Dispatch is also the action that is made which requests emergency assistance.

Do It Yourself (DIY) Security

A more contemporary form of security system that does not require extensive installation skills such as running wires, configuring complex systems or setting up professional monitoring services. DIY systems are the preferred style of security for residential users since the systems are mobile and do not require professional monitoring.

Door/ Window Contact

Made of a transmitter and a magnet, the contact sensor tracks the opening of windows or doors and communicates events to the central panel.

Dual Interface Poll (DIP)

A collection of switches that allow you to configure the circuit board of an emergency detection device or alarm control panel in order to activate and change its functionality.

Dual Path (Cellular/IP) Digital Communicator

An electronic device that provides both internet protocol (IP) and cellular connection points for alarm monitoring purposes. This type of communicator hardware typically uses the IP path as the primary method because an IP signal can be constantly polled for connectivity. As soon as the IP signal is lost, the alarm communicator automatically switches to the cellular pathway. That method requires the use of a built-in SIM card to communicate over an existing wireless network. A cellular/IP communicator sends alarm signals from the security system to the central monitoring station without the need for a POTS line. Dual path monitoring is more reliable than monitoring over a phone line because it has redundant signal communication paths.

Duress Code

A silent method of alerting the monitoring center operator that the user is in need of emergency help without letting the perpetrator know. Using this method, the user enters a four digit code into the control panel that tells the operator to send emergency help immediately. From the perpetrator’s perspective, the code simply disarms the system.

E

Electronic Security Association (ESA)

The Electronic Security Association is the largest trade association for security and life safety companies in the United States. The ESA provides training, government advocacy, advice and tools to help members grow their businesses. ESA members employ more than 500,000 individuals and serve more than 34 million clients.

Electronic Security Expo (ESX)

The electronic security expo is one of the largest trade shows for security and life safety companies. It is a national show that is designed to help professionals find learning resources, network with new potential partners, and know what is coming next.

Enhanced Call Verification

A form of alarm verification where a central station operator places two phone calls before requesting emergency dispatch services. ECV is quickly being adopted by jurisdictions across the country since it has proven to be an effective form of false alarm reduction and helps lower the costs that cities and states waste responding to false alarms.

Entry/ Exit Delay

When a user enters an area that is monitored by a security system, a built-in delay begins counting to give the user time to enter the required passcode. Implementing entry/exit delays helps to avoid setting off alarms when it’s not necessary. Predetermined delays can last 15 to 120 seconds before the alarm signal is sent to the central station.

Entry/ Exit Zone

A zone in a home or commercial space that is used to enter or exit the premises. In homes, these zones monitor front and back doors as well as garage doors. For commercial spaces, these zones usually protect the front door and back doors.

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring is a form of monitoring that measures gas levels, light, temperatures or water presence. Each type of sensor measures environmental factors that signal undesired changes and even threats to human health. Some examples of environmental sensors can be found in hospital refrigerators to protect medication, mine shafts to check for deadly gases, manufacturing plants for regulation compliance and even homes to check for flooding.

ESX - Electronic Security Expo

As one of the largest tradeshows in the electronic security industry, ESX delivers education, entertainment and keynote speakers. One of its biggest selling points is being the show that's big, but not too big. In comparison to shows like ISC West or CES, ESX seems to meet the middle ground in size that many attendees look for.

Ethernet

The most common type of internet network connection point that is commonly used in internet-based alarm systems, and especially Internet of Things devices.

Expander

A device that extends the capabilities and scalability of a security system. It typically refers to zone expanders which provide additional zones for a security system beyond the manufactured default.

External Sirens

An audible alert system that reaches much higher decibels than indoor alarms. These are designed to alert people in the surrounding area of an emergency event.

F

Facial Recognition

An advanced capability that is now being implemented in security cameras to help law enforcement locate individuals. Facial Recognition technology will eventually be able to recognize people and perform several smart functions like adjusting temperature in a room, unlocking doors and even sending emergency alerts.

Factory Mutual (FM) Approved

Factory Mutual is a world leader in third-party testing and certification services. They specialize in property-loss prevention products and services in the commercial and industrial spaces. Their inspection processes are backed by scientific research and on-site testing.

Fall Detection

A feature in many PERS and mPERS devices that tracks critical movement of users to identify potentially harmful falls and tumbles. A controversial feature in the PERS industry, fall detection has a great potential to help a lot of seniors, but improvements need to be made first.

False Alarm

In the alarm monitoring industry, a false alarm is a report to local dispatch services that is was not caused by a real emergency event. False alarms are caused by a handful of factors and cost cities millions of dollars per year. Significant efforts to reduce false alarms should be made in order to avoid restrictive legislation that puts subscriber lives at risk and that cost companies millions in fine-related money.

False Alarm Password

After the central station operator calls the site where an alarm was triggered, if the event was a false alarm, the user can provide a word, name, or number to verify its status.

Fingerprint Verification

Refers to the automated method of verifying a match between an individual’s fingerprints and stored data on file. Fingerprints are one of many forms of biometrics used to identify an individual and verify their identity.

Fire Alarm

An alarm that is caused by an active fire alarm system that detects smoke, a significant rise in temperature or the effects of fire. A monitored fire alarm system notifies the occupants in a home or commercial space, notifies persons in the surrounding area, summons the fire service, and controls all the fire alarm components in a building. Fire alarm systems include alarm devices, alarm notification devices, fire alarm control panels, fire annunciators, power supplies, and wiring.

Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)

The fire alarm control panel is the central computer or “brains” of a fire alarm system. Every device on the security system reports back to the control panel with supervisory signals and alarm signals. An FACP can be connected with a central monitoring station through several unique signal communication paths, reducing the chances of the signal being lost on the way to the central monitoring station.

Fire Alarm Monitoring

When a fire starts, the installed detection system is designed to alert the occupants of a building and send a signal the central station where it is monitored. Fire alarm monitoring is designed to remove the worry and human error from the people involved in the emergency scenario and deliver fire department help as quickly as possible.

Fire Alarm System

A type of security system that contains a fire alarm control panel, alarm devices, alarm notification devices, fire alarm control panels, fire annunciators, power supplies, and wiring. Most fire alarm systems must be designed and installed to the codes of the local jurisdiction because they are meant for life safety purposes.

Fire Annunciator

A fire alarm system device that provides remote control capability of critical system functions such as system reset, signal silence, acknowledge, and drill.

Flood Detector

A security system device that consists of an alarm transmitter and a probe that detects the presence of water. The transmitter can have a hardwired or wireless setup and is typically mounted far above the level water would ever be expected so the transmitter’s circuitry is safe. The probe is then mounted a few inches off the ground so that flooding is detected as early as possible.

FM Approved

See Factory Mutual

Freeze Sensor

A security system device that sends an emergency signal when the temperature of a given space drops below a critical point. Different from temperature sensors, freeze sensors are only designed to detect low temperatures. Freeze sensors are most commonly used to monitor rooms with water pipes in order to prevent the pipes from breaking.

G

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)

GPRS is a packet-based wireless communication service. It is based on Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) and complements existing services like Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). GPRS packet based services are faster and cost less than circuit-switched services since communication channels are used on a shared-use, as-packets-are-needed basis instead of dedicated to one user at a time.

Glassbreak Detector (GBD)

A security system device that detects the sound frequency made by breaking glass. A glassbreak detector houses a highly sensitive microphone that can detect the exact frequency of broken glass. GDBs, along with motion detectors, are devices used for interior monitoring to provide another layer of protection beyond exterior monitoring. One GBD can usually protect every window in a room and should be mounted on the wall across from the windows it is meant to protect. GBDs are preferable over motion detectors when large animals live in the alarms premise, since they work while the security system is in stay mode without causing false alarms.

Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

A piece of legislation that was adopted by the European Parliament in April 2016 that regulates how companies protect EU citizens' personal data. The GDPR is a heavy-hitting topic since it affects even companies that aren't based out of the European Union and sets a precedent for businesses around the globe.

Global Positioning System

The global positioning system is a free service provided by the United States government. It is structured by several satellites that orbit the earth and require cloudless skies to function. GPS monitoring is frequently implemented in PERS devices, crash detection and lone worker devices so emergency help can be sent to the exact location of the incident.

Google Duplex

An advanced personal assistant that is capable of setting appointments, understanding accents and holding adaptive conversation with people. Google Duplex is the most advanced personal assistant available to users and surpasses the capabilities of Siri.

GPS Monitoring

A form of monitoring that identifies the location of a user’s device after an emergency event. GPS monitoring not only leverages the existing Global Positioning System network of orbiting satellites, but can also use cellular networks to track a user’s location. In a typical monitoring scenario, cellular locating is more accurate because of its ability to track users inside of buildings and even under cloudy skies.

H

Heat Detector

A burglar alarm or fire alarm device that detects a preset high temperature or a rapid rate-of-rise (ROR) in temperature. Heat detectors can be either electrical or mechanical in operation. The most common types are thermocouple and electro-pneumatic, both of which respond to changes in ambient temperature. If the ambient temperature rises above a predetermined threshold, then an alarm signal is triggered. Heat detectors are better than smoke detectors for areas where smoke would normally be found such as a kitchen or smoking lounge, since they do not produce as many false alarms.

Hidden Camera

A security camera that is strategically placed to avoid detection by intruders. The camera is considered to be "hidden" when it is not visible to the subject being filmed, or is disguised as another object. Hidden cameras have become popular for household video surveillance and can be integrated with common household objects such as smoke detectors, clock radios, motion detectors, ball caps, plants, and cell phones. Hidden cameras may also be used for commercial purposes.

Holdup Switch

A form of panic button that is similar to a duress code without the complexity of a passcode. When a holdup switch is activated, it sends an alarm to the central monitoring station and requires the immediate dispatch request. These devices are usually mounted underneath a checkout counter or underneath a bank teller’s workstation so that a person in distress can discreetly activate it. When a holdup switch is activated, it does not create an audible alarm so that the intruder is not made aware.

Home Security

A form of protection from burglaries, intrusions and environmental hazards that uses devices to detect movement, changes in environmental statuses, unauthorized entryway access or the breaking of glass.

Hybrid Monitoring

An alternative approach to central station monitoring, Hybrid Monitoring gives security companies with in-house central stations access to industry-leading alarm automation and central station redundancy.

I

Infrared

A type of alarm detection device that is most often found in motion detectors. Infrared detectors are designed to distinguish changes in electromagnetic radiation as opposed to normal light changes. LEDs used on security cameras often use infrared technology to emit more light.

Installer Code

A four digit code that is used to access the programming functions on a security system’s control panel. Once a user access the programming menu, the system can be taken over by competing security companies and even high-tech intruders to disarm the system. It is good practice, therefore to keep the installer code a secret.

Integrated Service Digital Network (ISDN)

The ISDN is an international communications standard for sending voice, video, and data over digital telephone lines or traditional telephone copper wire.

Internet Of Things (IOT)

The internet of things is a term that describes a network of devices that are connected to the internet. As it becomes more popular, the IoT reduces the number of devices that are connected by wires and increases opportunities for companies to implement innovative ways to improve business processes, monitor more effectively and reduce the chances of manual system takeovers. However, as new technology advances, IoT devices present new challenges as people with nefarious intent can access vulnerabilities in devices to access a network.

Internet Protocol (IP)

A data-oriented protocol used for communicating across a packet switched inter-network.

Internet Protocol (IP) Address

A unique 12 digit code that identifies a computer or device on an IP network. XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX is the format IP addresses take with each group of Xs representing a number between 0 and 255. IP networks use the IP address to forward messages between different devices on the network.

Internet-Based Alarm Monitoring

An alarm communication path that uses an Ethernet connection to send an alarm signal over the internet from the control panel to a central monitoring station’s IP receivers. This type of alarm monitoring requires an IP communicator hardwired into the security system and an internet monitoring contract. The benefits of internet monitoring are that no phone line is required which reduces the possibility a communication line being cut on purpose or accident. In addition, internet communication is not expensive, and it is fully supervised so the connection is constantly polled by the central station received.

Intrusion

See Burglary

Ionization Detection

A type of smoke detection that used in most smoke detectors since it is inexpensive and even better at detecting smaller amounts of smoke produced by fires. Smoke detectors using ionization detection use an ionization chamber and a source of ionizing radiation to detect smoke.

IoT Monitoring

As more devices become internet-based as opposed to being connected to traditional landlines, 400;">IoT Monitoring produces additional capabilities that help event monitoring devices do more.

IP Video

A counterpart to traditional CCTV video feeds, IP video monitoring presents new opportunities for security systems to integrate with central monitoring stations and deliver additional levels of verification during alarm events.

ISC - International Security Conference & Exposition

Now separated into two different shows, ISC West and ISC East are some of the largest trade shows for electronic security companies, reaching more than 30K security professionals at ISC West alone. ISC West takes place in Las Vegas every year, while ISC East takes place in New York City.

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