How Video Verification Provides More Actionable Data, Better Intel
Find out how video verification assists in false alarm reduction and delivers RMR potential.
Are we entering a tipping point for the industry? A time when major brands as well as nimble entrants are bringing smarter devices and services directly to consumers, promising security and peace of mind?
The longstanding status quo has been that professionally installed systems with 24/7 monitoring is the industry’s value-proposition, differentiator and Holy Grail. Our promise is while consumers are busy with life, and businesses are focused on their customers, we’ve got their backs, keeping them safer from the threat of intrusion, fire and hold-ups.
Competition from traditional dealers and integrators is easier to calculate and compete with. Competing with non-traditional players in the space, however, becomes more complex, especially with the onslaught of compelling and unique video, security and smart home solutions hitting the market.
Doorbells, battery-operated cameras, WiFi cameras, sensors and Cloud-based services from the likes of Arlo, Blink, Canary, Nest, Ring, SmartThings, etc., have managed to establish a place in the market. These companies — whether the professional installation channel admits it or not — are causing market disruption that cannot and should not be ignored. Disruptive innovation has begun to take its toll on the existing market, as it starts to displace established market leaders, products and services.
The consensus is that the industry’s market penetration for residential security is around 20%, although it’s significantly higher for businesses and governmental facilities. The attraction for new players is the larger, mostly untouched market segment that represents a huge revenue opportunity for them (and the industry). Although the balance of the total available market will very likely never achieve a full penetration of 100%, it does offer a compelling narrative for those new entrants wanting to compete in the security space.
3 RMR-Driven Upshots
The quest for higher adoption levels for security in homes is partly fed through the consumer’s appetite for elegant applications of smart home products and services. If products or services become fully commoditized though, meaning they are relatively indistinguishable from competing offerings, the only discernible difference becomes the price.
This may happen if consumers don’t notice a distinct difference between traditional dealers and non-traditional players’ go-to-market strategies and offerings. One dominant product or service theme in the security and smart home space among consumers seems to be anything video related, like the video doorbell or battery-operated cameras.
Video surveillance is an important component of security and safety. After a crime is committed or a terrorist attack happens, law enforcement is quick to gather video images from local security cameras to uncover clues about the incident. From the industry’s stand point, there is nothing new to see here, meaning that most alarm dealers and integrators have been offering video surveillance systems to their clients for many years. Except there is something new — video images and signals can be sent to the monitoring center that provide three game-changing, RMR-driven outcomes:
- more actionable data for monitoring operators
- greater control and access for end users
- better intel for law enforcement to respond, and ultimately keeping them safer
“As a leader in professional monitoring, our primary objective is to ensure agencies respond when our customers need them,” says Steve Walker, vice president of customer service for Stanley Security. “The use of video and audio in VAV monitoring makes it possible for us to distinguish between obvious false alarms and probable crimes in progress — a distinction that adds tremendous value for both our customers and law enforcement.”
“VAV,” Walker continues, “provides the formula for reducing unnecessary police dispatches while simultaneously helping law enforcement to increase the priority level of their response.”
Focus on Catching Bad Guys
Homeowners and business owners with a security system understand its importance, especially if professionally monitored. Most insurance companies reinforce this by offering a discount if a homeowner’s alarm system includes professional monitoring. Law enforcement understands the importance of an alarm system — except when the call for service creates a false alarm dispatch.
Unfortunately, on any given day, 98% of the calls create a false alarm dispatch. Hence, the industry’s processing of alarm signals focuses more on false alarm management rather than catching the bad guys.
No doubt, consumers want the cavalry dispatched in the event of a “real alarm.” The operative word is real. The perception that law enforcement and end users have may be slanted toward a flawed product and service, 98% of the time. Just imagine if the tables were turned. What would be the perception of law enforcement and end users if the percentage of actual alarms outnumbered false alarms, and the number of captures was meaningful too? In a word — priceless.
“With video verification, ADT will be able to give our customers a better experience with our service offerings, allowing the user and the operators to make better decisions during alarm processing,” says ADT CIO Don Young. “This in turn will help law enforcement better prioritize their resources.”
Advancements in Cloud technology, cost reductions in operating datacenters, affordable access to broadband services, and adoption of smart phones all contributed to creating an opportunity for the industry to take alarm verification to the next logical level, and at an attractive price point. Use of audio and/or video to verify an alarm is real and worthy of dispatching law enforcement to an active crime scene is critical for all public and private stakeholders. Continuing to dispatch alarms without a viable verification process diminishes the value of the alarm system in the eyes of the consumer and police. Focusing on false alarm calls is good; catching the bad guy makes for a great day.
Video cameras with professionally monitored services become a powerful and effective tool that increases the effectiveness of security systems, the efficiency of monitoring centers and the response to alarms from law enforcement. Yes, even self-installed cameras can contribute to the professional installing channel’s RMR. Devices that can be ubiquitously and easily connected to monitoring software platforms have the ability to create a differentiator that delivers a higher-level customer experience and a more reliable source to dispatch emergency responders.
“Advancements in technology are adding efficiencies to how professional monitoring centers provide audio and video verification services. These best-in-class technologies deliver an enhanced experience for alarm users, monitoring centers and law enforcement,” says Jay Hauhn, executive director of The Monitoring Association (TMA, formerly CSAA).
Here is the good news: What normally are considered passive devices, images from security cameras can be turned into active professional monitoring services that generate RMR. This reinforces the industry’s Holy Grail, and delivers a better monitoring solution overall.
Whether accessing video clips or live streaming images, dealers and integrators can offer an array of professional monitoring services to end users, such as video verification, video guard tours, video device connectivity and health monitoring, video concierge services, etc. As video analytics and IoT gain traction, the list will grow exponentially to include a larger sub-directory of products and services for further commercial and residential applications. In addition, the end user will have the ability to cancel an alarm via their smart device — a powerful tool that enhances the customer experience and engagement, and giving them the ability to cancel yet another false dispatch.
“We must embrace the ability of verification (audio and video) to help us better service our customers and law enforcement,” says Joey Rao-Russell, president and CEO of Kimberlite Corp. “The industry should rally around standards and training to provide a better experience. PPVAR has best practice standards for audio and video verification and is developing training to support these goals.”
Video verification is an opportunity for your company to create meaningful RMR, and provide a pivotal solution that provides better alarm verification, an enhanced customer experience and engagement and a priority police response.
The tipping point is here to stay. In other words, competing on price makes for much unwanted noise in the space. Understanding where the puck will be (thank you, Mr. Wayne Gretzky) helps to clear the path for a future that is less frightening and more focused on delivering products and services that undoubtedly differentiate you from the pack.
Video and audio alarm verification connected with professional monitoring is the right opportunity to embrace that will help your company remain relevant. In other words, create your future, rather than having the future dictated to you.
Larry Folsom is president of I-View Now.
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