Offering Environmental Detection Can Open the RMR Floodgates

How to score more end-user points by becoming an environmental detection crusader.

ONE OF THE MAIN ROLES of a security professional is to help mitigate losses and or damages to people and property. So why is it then that many dealers still only offer the monitoring of nonsecurity detectors and sensors such as flood, fire, temperature, etc., only in response to client requests – and usually only as part of a larger, more comprehensive intrusion or life-safety system?

I’ve found that companies that take a more deliberate and proactive approach to monitoring sensors beyond intrusion and fire have experienced great success in closing ratios and increased recurring monthly revenue (RMR). “Environmental” monitoring addresses many events, the most common being high temperature, low temperature, high water, low water and flood conditions.

Although these are not new to most security pros, applications can vary and this is where there are missed opportunities. Also overlooked is that residential as well as commercial and industrial client types all find real value in such monitoring. I’ve seen through involvement in consumer focus groups that many clients find more immediate value and a reason to purchase solely based on systems that offered smoke, flood and freeze detection.

Gain an Edge With Additional Monitoring Element
Although most of us believe everyone needs an intrusion and life-safety fire system, we cannot let this philosophy get in the way of success. You’ll find potential clients that think they do not need or do not see the value of an intrusion or life-safety system, for all manner of reasons both business and personal.

In any case, capitalizing on the value in other monitored devices and services will not only give you the ability to increase revenue for installations and monthly monitoring, but often give you the edge to attract and maintain a client that you would not traditionally attract with a “plain vanilla” offering or one that mandates including intrusion devices.

Anyone who has experienced a dripping hot water heater, burst washing machine hose, or leaking water softener, purifier and well pump can appreciate the benefit of early detection.

I’m not alone in firmly believing that it’s essential all residential and most commercial installations must include water or flood detection in one or more areas of the premises. Anyone who has experienced a dripping hot water heater, burst washing machine hose, or leaking water softener, purifier and well pump can appreciate the benefit of early detection. Combining simple and inexpensive wired/wireless detectors available along with central station monitoring that will immediately text message, email and/or call a client’s call list without delay aids the preservation of property.

In my home, for example, I have three combination freeze and water detectors: one by the washing machine, one by the hot water heater, and one by the whole-house water softener and well pump. In a commercial or industrial application, the need and value is just as great and sometimes greater as a business that only operates eight or 10 hours a day, five days a week, is unoccupied most of the time and subject to great damage if something causes water or freezing during those hours. Other applications include the monitoring of refrigeration or freezer equipment/rooms to assure that the temperature remains below a certain threshold.

Opportunities Abound, Including Standalone System Sales
These scenarios relate to just about every primary residence and business office, anywhere in the world. Taking this a step further and looking at the market for secondary winter or summer homes opens these opportunities even wider. Even with the challenge where telephone service is not available in offseason times, combining a self-contained security system and GSM communicator with some wireless detectors is an immediate and valuable solution.

In some cases, if you are in an area where many client opportunities exist, you can also find success offering short-term rentals of these systems to handle timeframes when the client has the greatest need. Selling such supplemental systems augments and improves the value proposition of a traditional intrusion system. But where a huge opportunity is lost, however, is the potential sale of systems that are essentially environmental without the cost of intrusion or even fire.

CHECK OUT previous Monitoring Matters columns here.

Some innovative dealers simply utilize small intrusion systems without the intrusion devices; others utilize self-contained gateways with Wi-Fi, IP and/or GSM communications. When offering these basic systems along with a mobile app for communications, you have planted the seed toward the next step in selling an upgraded system.

Security providers who have enjoyed success in selling systems with mobile apps know that the app and communications serve as the teaser toward selling more devices and services. This by no means is a bait-and-switch philosophy either. It is merely a path that some consumers need to take toward the realization of what they may really want or ultimately need.

With the proper pricing, support and follow-up, this path will eventually lead dealers toward a new avenue for growth along with a subscriber base that experiences greater engagement with their systems.

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About the Author


Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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