Wholesale or third-party monitoring has come a long way since its inception more than 35 years ago. A time existed when providers of wholesale central station monitoring services really didn’t get much respect from some industry peers and trade associations.
Today wholesale central stations contribute tremendously toward the growth of our industry, not to mention the vital life-safety assistance given through monitoring legions of accounts. It is this growth along with technological advances and a competitive marketplace that has caused some of the larger, national monitoring centers to really step up their game and set a pace for others to follow.
I have written about the variety of extremely valuable technologies and services that are being offered by various central stations throughout North America. Meaningful technologies such as two-way audio verification, GSM monitoring, IP monitoring, remote video verification and monitoring, and most recently, network monitoring. Some operating centers perform better than others. They have expanded on plain vanilla services toward providing enhanced services that deliver greater results.
As a professional who has spent a big part of his career in executive management roles for large, national monitoring centers, it’s pleasing to see the current providers offer their proposition in such a comprehensive fashion. Dealers can reap such great benefits when they utilize the services and support mechanisms available from some of these central stations. However, it is troublesome when I hear of dealers arguing over nickels and dimes with a provider, rather than discussing how to leverage the many great services and support that would result in adding real dollars to their company’s bottom line.
Take Advantage of 3rd-Party Monitoring Services
I tend to write and talk about the endless opportunities we have as an industry as technologies and services unfold. I see many companies take heed to these trends and prosper while others sit back and wonder. Consumers are getting more educated by the day when it relates to security, automation and lifestyle management, as well as monitoring. Systems are getting easier to install and consumers are seeking alternate paths to the same solution. It’s up to dealers to use what they have in their arsenal and combine that with their personalized service toward holding on to existing clients and gaining new ones.
In the past, a third-party central station was simply a machine that sat behind the alarm dealer and responded to signals and subscriber calls. Central stations controlled the entire process from new account on-boarding of data to data changes. Today, central stations are much more than this. Central stations provide tools and applications for dealers and their subscribers to take greater control of their part in the security chain. They provide monitoring in a transparent fashion while the alarm dealer sits front and foremost as they should.
Most important, most wholesale central stations possess a deep well of resources and wherewithal. They can bolster a dealer’s business via technological as well as professional human resources. Many leading providers offer varied layers of support and advisory assistance that come with the subscription fees they charge. Most dealers don’t take advantage of this. In many cases it is similar to hiring a well-rounded security consultant to assist in expanding your business. Sometimes the only difference is you don’t have to pay the consultation fees.
It is my recommendation that every dealer who hasn’t had a comprehensive meeting and presentation by their monitoring provider in recent times should schedule one. You may be very surprised what you learn and how you can expand your offering to increase revenues. Also, don’t be apprehensive about looking around and comparing services and providers.
As I stated before, consumers are savvier than you may know. As an industry we have many valuable offerings, technologies and services that consumers will recognize and migrate toward when presented the opportunity. It’s the dealer’s job to present it properly before the competition does.
Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.