How Central Stations Can Leverage the Cloud for Better Value
Sharing alarm monitoring with third parties through the Cloud provides a winning value proposition.
In the past, when a third-party monitoring company identified a security organization as one that provided in-house monitoring to its subscriber base, it would usually retreat and move on to the next prospect that did utilize a third-party provider.
I say “usually” because some of us were very early and forward thinking in the past even when technology wasn’t all that friendly to pursue the business of proprietary or full-service dealers.
Back in the early 1990s I led an effort that presented a strong value proposition for small central stations to move their business on a part-time or full-time basis to the monitoring company I led.
Although it was tedious, it worked and even with the higher cost of technology back then, it made logistical and economic sense for all parties.
Fast-forward to today and consider all the economic challenges and cost-cutting pressures that businesses face. Most organizations would consider an alternative if it met their logistical, economic and security requirements.
The technology advances that include the use of Cloud technologies and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) afford us all opportunities to create some great value propositions for proprietary service providers.
Alternatives Still Meet Control, Management Demands
Some proprietary organizations and full-service dealers maintain a thousand, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of subscriber locations.
These providers have a structured security organization, design and service their own security systems and operate their own UL central station.
They justify the expense of operations through very little shared expenses with other areas of their business and the need to have more immediate control of securing their organization.
Smaller organizations usually justify the disproportionate added expense by sharing a great part of it leveraging existing infrastructure, management and staff from other areas of their organization.
The common element with these scenarios is that operating a monitoring service center is not the core competency of these organizations. Granted they can and usually do hire industry people to manage these operations.
Even with this assistance, they could never justify hiring the highest-level management or adopting the highest level of technology and redundancy.
The good news is that alternatives do exist and they are alternatives that allow for meeting the requirements of these organizations while creating additional revenue channels for central stations.
Central stations that are invested in automation and technology that offer seamless remote operations have the unique opportunity to present a structure that leverages the Cloud along with their state-of-the-art technology.
They can allow these proprietary organizations the control they need, increase in management competency, decrease in ongoing management and infrastructure while maintaining a more viable overall cost structure.
Remote Managed Operations Help Make Hybrid Case
Present to prospects what you would simply look at as a hybrid software as a service (SaaS) model. The central station would offer an umbilical cord into a sophisticated, technologically advanced infrastructure.
This includes receivers, automation, telecommunications and all the management and support that come along with this.
Although in most cases this structure relieves these organizations of the necessity to add or upgrade technology or maintain the management that it takes to keep it running, sometimes the organization will choose to maintain central station receivers onsite and allow their third-party partner to manage them.
In addition, and what really presents this as a great value proposition, is how you can take on or share in the signal processing. In a perfect scenario, their organization would offload all back-end signal processing and automation controls to an industry central station.
The client’s personnel would provide all the data entry and intercompany communications and support. The management of this area would all fall on the experienced staff at the industry central station, affording the organization a relief from expensive senior and middle management.
The client would be operating on the best of technology, with a wide variety of new services, managed by an experienced team and without the burden of staffing problems, outage challenges or the general need to have the required competencies to run a 24/7 central station the way it should be operated.
Some might argue that a hybrid structure as I’ve described would cause a greater expense. This is only true if you are not taking into consideration all expenses related to operating a proprietary central station properly.
When factoring the overall management that is directly and indirectly related to the monitoring center, along with the management and staff that dedicates part of their responsibility to the center and also adding the cost to maintain the automation system, receivers and other requirements on an annual basis, it will become obvious that a hybrid model will bring added value to the organization.
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