Some 50 select invited installing and monitoring company operators and managers joined DMP leadership and staffers, as well as members of the trade media such as myself, for the manufacturer’s second annual daylong Owner’s Forum April 9 at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas a day before ISC West. Although I could only devote a half-day to the event, what I sat in on was very well put together and of high value for attendees. The gathering was much more focused and personal than a vendor could ever hope to achieve using the ISC exposition as its lone vehicle. Mike Fleenor of Fleenor Secuity Systems, Derric Roof of Central Alarm and Morgan Hertel of Rapid Response Monitoring were among those I spoke with during the breaks who told me they were returning participants from the previous year and were thoroughly pleased with the 2013 installment.
Personable DMP Vice President of Training & Quality David Peeples got the event started and served as its overall emcee. DMP Owner and CEO Rick Britton, who is a member of SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION’s Industry Hall of Fame, then shared his vision for the company and provided a products update. In introducing Britton, Peeples compared his drive to innovate to that of the late multimillionaire Howard Hughes, who, as soon as the famous Spruce Goose airplane was finished, asked “What’s next?” Britton talked about he likes to survey the entire technology landscape to see what new breakthroughs can be brought into security from other industries. He was particularly pleased to talk about the capabilities of DMP’s 7800 graphic touchscreen keypad and XR Series control panels. Regarding changing panel transmission platforms, Britton said, “GSM and POTS are going away and you must proactively make sure your customers do not drift away because of it.” He also urged embracing and marketing interactive, lifestyle-based services not only to generate more recurring revenue but also to “inoculate your customers against the summer sales programs.”
Jeff Multz of Dell SecureWorks then presented a sobering session on cyber security, discussing the scale of threats, why it is important for physical security companies and their clients, and also the opportunity there is for partnering with managed IT security providers. Here are some of the staggering statistics Multz offered: worldwide 38 billion cyber-attack issues occur every 24 hours; 76% of organizations’ IT staffs are buried with basic activities with little time to focus on security; 92% of cyber breaches are undetected by victimized organizations and only discovered by third parties; and 49% of cyber threats originate from outside the targeted organizations. The energetic Multz pointed out how easy and inexpensive it is now for cyber criminals in a world where malware can be bought and distributed online, and personal identities auctioned for a few bucks apiece. He theorized that the reason physical crime has not risen during the recession is because in many cases the perpetrators have instead moved on to cybercrime. Multz says security dealers and integrators should consider partnering with managed security providers in a complementary capacity. He recommends layering IT security with 50% of effort going to firewall protection; 30% to network intrusion detection; and 20% to internal servers and routers.
The next session featured Stanley Oppenheim of DGA Security Systems lending insight on how to manage companies during natural disasters. Having contended with the Northeast power outage blackout of 2003, Oppenheim walked among the attendees dramatically explaining how that trying situation was mere child’s play as compared to Hurricane Sandy last October. When these events happen, “the little thing will bring you down,” he said. Among a multitude of challenges, he said cellphones are overwhelmed and unreliable during large-scale emergencies. Here are some of the preparedness tips Oppenheim outlined for installing/monitoring companies: 1) Purchases and maintain a supply of two-way radios; 2) Emergencies require cash on hand; 3) Stock plenty of bottled water, food, toiletries, FEMA-approved cots, blankets and bedding; 4) Have lots of flashlights and standardize on one battery type (he recommends ‘D’ cells) and replace them whether used or not annually; 5) Plan out employee transportation — know where your employees live and how they get to work; and 6) Outfit all employees in reflective gear with company name on them, which helps keep them safe amid the chaos and distinguish them from looters to law enforcement (“Bad guys don’t wear reflective vests.”). More specifically for monitoring providers, Oppenheim said central stations should be prepared for: heavy signal traffic; mass deletion of events; having standardized scripts to use with customers; an all-hands-on-deck plan; software vendor response; and cross training employees for backing each other up.
The last session I sat in on was presented by Alan Kruglak of Genesis Security, who went through the benefits of selling service contracts as well as the procedures to do so. Referencing those reluctant to solicit service contracts to their customers, the animated Kruglak said: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!” In addition to giving your service program an appealing and marketable name (e.g. Reliable 24/7), he laid out important features as: 1) One fixed price for all services; 2) Priority response for contracted customers; 3) Fast response; 4) Instant loaners; 5) Guaranteed work; 6) Achieve resolutions; and 7) Make it simple. Kruglak also urged company operators to increase their service fees every year, as he estimated a provider’s true hourly costs to be about $82 ($30 base hourly rate; $9 benefits; $6 inefficiency; $5 call-backs; $11 trucks and equipment; and $21 overhead). He said service pricing should be based on 7%-15% of a system’s installed value. Further, Kruglak said it is easier to sell service contracts at the time of the initial sale, so strike while the iron is hot. Regarding keeping your costs down, he said, “Product line standardization is key.” Finally, he noted that less than 25% of companies are offering service contracts so get busy before your competitors do.
In closing, I would like to that DMP for extending an invitation to me to attend the 2013 Owner Forum and congratulate the company on putting together such an enlightening program. Go here to see a photo gallery from the event.