Interactive security services provide end users the ability to arm and disarm their systems remotely and they can be instantly notified of alarms as well as openings and closings. Many also include a video interface; some even have home automation and energy management controls. ©iStockphoto.com/Arthur Kwiatkowski
I can't imagine getting through a day without my smartphone. It is amazing all the applications and interactive services that are available to the smartphone user. It's like having the whole world in the palm of your hand.
We manage our lives through technology and we like our information instantly and on demand. We don't want to interface with people as much because modern technology delivers the information we need more quickly and efficiently. For better or worse, this is the new world order.
Given our propensity for smartphones and interactive technology, the more savvy alarm dealers are gearing their offerings toward this trend. More than ever manufacturers and third-party vendors are really coming up to speed with mostly IP-based, interactive security systems and devices. Most of these technologies include iPhone and Android apps that make their service even more accessible to end users.
With most interactive security services today, end users can arm and disarm their systems remotely and they can be instantly notified of alarms as well as openings and closings. Many also include a video interface; some even have home automation and energy management controls. It is apparent that end users are willing to pay an additional monthly fee for the perceived value for such services.
Meeting Customer Expectations
I happen to be in the wholesale monitoring business, but if I were in retail installation I would make interactivity part of my offering on every alarm system. The value proposition is very unique and compelling. It's a great differentiator and it establishes in a customer's mind that the purveyor of the service has technological competency.
The days of selling "static, blind" security systems are coming to an end. Technology from 1985 just isn't going to fly in the near future. The traditional alarm industry landscape is fast evolving and it is imperative for alarm dealers to change accordingly.
It is also advantageous to alarm dealers that most of these systems transmit over IP and many have cellular back up units on board. As everyone is aware, Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) is going away and it is nowhere near as reliable as it was just 10 years ago. In any case, now is the time for alarm dealers to shop for their favorite interactive security service and to promote this service to all existing customers and new prospects.
The average alarm system user seldom activates an alarm and seldom deals with the central station or the alarm company. This disconnect can lead to customers cancelling monitoring because they just don't have a sense of value related to their security system and their alarm company. But with an interactive system, the customer is engaged and they regularly interact with their alarm system.
The real sizzle comes when they show the features off to their friends and family. The feature sets are compelling and once others see them, they are likely to think that an interactive system is more desirable. In essence, your own customers can become your most effective salespeople!
So alarm dealers, go boldly into the 21st century and start offering interactive security. Your company will likely see better customer retention and you will increase your recurring monthly revenue (RMR).
Mark Matlock is Senior Vice President at United Central Control Inc. (UCC), a wholesale monitoring station based in San Antonio.