Services Beyond Security

Throughout the years electronic security, and especially central station monitoring and remote services, has evolved to become much more than just about detection and protection.

Throughout the years electronic security, and especially central station monitoring and remote services, has evolved to become much more than just about detection and protection.

In most cases the initial approach and design of a security system and its associated services stem from securing a premise. What we often see now are intuitive users leveraging the system as an overall management tool, as well as a security system. You might immediately perceive this to be relevant only to a business or commercial location, although it really relates to any premise.

Historically, the use of open and close reporting of a security system has been the most widely used functionality to also serve as a management tool. While this is still a reality, its usage, including ancillary value-add features, has taken this concept to a whole new level.

Seeing Is Believing

The utilization of video open and close reporting is starting to gain some real traction. As valuable as the reporting of a specific user code and name can be when a person arms or disarms a system, the addition of a video clip or image of that user provides the real confirmation. This has proven to be extremely valuable to commercial users who want visual confirmation of whether or not employees are performing their assigned duties. Similar visual confirmation is also popular with residential users, especially those who are using a system as part of a latch key scenario: parents can receive a video clip at work or on a mobile device confirming a child has arrived home safely.

The introduction of new technologies that can streamline deployment has helped these services gain traction in the marketplace. Moreover, many of these services can be accomplished in an automated fashion, therefore keeping monthly fees to an affordable level.

Although open and close with video is the most widely known, along with video verification of intrusion events, many other applications exist as well. Certain supervisory type events such as flood detection and temperature alarms are utilized in conjunction with streaming video. This is especially valuable for users who own a second residence or when away from their primary home for extended periods.

Online and In Control

The use of central station information portals presents some of the greatest advantages to end users. For instance, most central stations provide a Web portal that allows a business or property manager to view all the information that pertains to their security, life-safety and management systems — whether for a single building or multiple sites. Some of the more intuitive portals provide a summary of events and allow for custom reporting, the value of which when used properly is priceless. From viewing events as they happen to making data changes on the fly, a manager can take control with very little effort. Although Web interfaces have been available for years, they have not been leveraged to the extent they should be by end users. Alarm dealers may also be utilizing these platforms, but extending this valuable service to end users is underutilized.

The examples mentioned in this article are but a brief sampling of the many services that could prove to be valuable to end users and alarm dealers alike. Think of these services as the ties that can bind you tighter to your clients. These services offer greater justification for what a customer is willing to invest in a security solution, and help minimize attrition as you step up and play additional roles in the management of your clients’ businesses and lives.

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About the Author


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

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