GSM and IP communications allow dealers to offer services that keep customers connected with their security systems. ©iStockphoto.com/Webphotographeer
We are fortunate to work in an industry that thrives on technology. Manufacturers and network providers continue to push the technologies toward extracting additional value from each product and service. The industry has witnessed this with the digital keypad, digital communicator formats and currently with the variety of alternate means of alarm communications.
Although IP communications have been around for a while, and wireless communications even longer, the progress with these alternate methods in recent years has proven to provide some really slick and valuable additions. These paths at first offer additional higher security in the event a telephone line is circumvented or fails. Over time the wireless communications have become bidirectional, allowing for greater controls and security.
GSM, IP Connectivity to the Fore
The original value proposition is actually more prevalent today with the increased need of a path of communication other than telephone service. With many providers and users migrating to VoIP, which usually doesn't play well with digital communications, a void needs to be filled. In many cases, residential subscribers only maintain a cellular telephone and an Internet connection, thereby making the need for a home telephone optional. All these challenges are easily addressed through the use of GSM and IP communications.
The value-adds with most of these services are the proactive features that "bolt on" and are available to both end users and dealers on a daily basis. The deployment of these wireless and IP-based communication structures addresses the challenge of monitoring a premise when traditional telephone lines are not available or practical. Although this is a very important element, and sometimes the only real requirement, dealers can also offer their clients additional services. These would include virtual keypads, remote access, remote viewing of premise cameras and other valuable proactive services utilizing the same communications path.
In addition, some systems are able to immediately communicate with end users via E-mail and SMS text messaging without the immediate need of a central station. Did I say something wrong? I'm the biggest advocate when it comes to the need for a central station; it's my belief the necessity for a central station will always be present.
Still, having the additional ability for lower priority activity to communicate directly with a user is also a good benefit. It empowers the user and relieves the central station from handling these low-priority signals so they can concentrate on the higher priorities.
Features to Sell Beyond Security
These services are all available to users and dealers through connectivity from their PCs, cell phones and PDAs. How great is it for a user to see the status of their premise before they actually get there? Maybe you want to turn up the air conditioning or see if the home is secure and the dog is in the yard. You can either go to your system from your office computer or wait until you're a little closer to the house and accomplish all this from that cell phone or PDA.
These are all really good, feature rich services that end users can enjoy. Utilizing these platforms and explaining the great value in the bidirectional communication with their security systems will allow a dealer to turn these wants into needs. And when you can do that, your competition will have a very hard time keeping pace.
The bonus to all of this is the great goodwill that comes from a user who is engaged with these services. They can't help but to talk or even brag about these great features. Not only do you end up with users who enjoy their systems, you build your network of advocates. Every new client will have a direct impact on your continued growth while you are increasing monthly revenue and profitability.
Peter Giacalone is President of Mace Security Int’l Inc.’s Security Services Division. He can be contacted at (201) 394-5536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.