Central Station Selection Guide

Nine leading wholesale monitoring providers are spotlighted with details about their specialties, unique qualities and service offerings. Top executives describe the business advantages their third-party central stations bring to their security dealer customers.

For good reason, generating more recurring monthly revenue has become an obsession for most installing electronic security company managers. Stabilizing cash flow, services diversification, new technology implementation and customer retention are just some of the many virtues of building a large base of RMR-based accounts. Given the principal method to create that business is through monitored services, if (like most) your firm does not have that competency in-house then it is critical to strike a partnership with a top-flight third-party central station.

There are a lot of key factors to consider when making that wholesale monitoring choice. They include customer service, portfolio of technologies and services, technical training and support, signal transmission formats, certifications, alarm management techniques, pricing, account purchasing programs, and dealer program-type administrative, sales and marketing, and financial assistance. The right provider can help an installing company exploit new opportunities in alarm communications, video and access control monitoring, home controls and energy management, PERS, weather alerts, and interactive and mobile-enabled services.

To assist in the selection process, nine of the industry’s foremost third-party central stations make their cases to be your monitoring partner.

Affiliated Monitoring

Company: Affiliated Monitoring

Headquarters: Union, N.J.; (800) 296-9000

Web site: affiliated.com

Years in business: 36

Number monitored accounts: N/A

Annual revenues: N/A

Employees: 225

Licenses, certifications & accreditations: UL, FDNY Approved, CSAA Five Diamond, IQ Certified, SIA, NFPA, ESA

Overview of services: Security monitoring including all major cellular providers, Internet monitoring and two-way voice; commercial fire protection system monitoring; PERS; cloud-based hosted and managed access control; video verification and continuous monitoring of cameras and DVRs.

Business advantages: “Among the Affiliated Monitoring services to help dealers run their business more effectively are: mobile and Web applications, including RealStream alarm testing app; E-mail and text messaging alerts; 24/7 dealer help desk; dedicated account transfer team; marketing materials; training facilities; and billing and answering services. Affiliated also stays on top of the constantly changing transmission technologies. From the phasing out of POTS lines to the growth in cellular, Internet and mobile transmissions, Affiliated offers everything a dealer needs. In addition, our in-house application development team is constantly enhancing our robust online toolset. Affiliated’s UL-Listed and CSAA Five Diamond Certified monitoring and dealer care center utilizes the industry’s most sophisticated technology. Our fully redundant, enterprise-class receiving, routing and database equipment is specifically designed to eliminate all points of failure.”

— Daniel Oppenheim, Vice President

COPS MonitoringCOPS’ central stations are hot redundant and load sharing, so each site is operational 24/7 and the workload is distributed to all of the company’s sites to maintain consistency in services.

Company: COPS Monitoring

Headquarters: Williamstown, N.J.; (800) 367-2677

Web site: copsmonitoring.com

Years in business: 35

Number monitored accounts: 900,000 (100% contracted; 75% residential, 25% commercial)

Annual revenues: N/A

Employees: 350

Licenses, certifications & accreditations: UL, FM Approved, IQ Certified, CSAA Five Diamond, ESA, NFPA, SIA, SIAC

Overview of Services: Every type of residential and commercial alarm: burglary, fire, PERS, two-way voice, hold-up, environmental, industrial, institutional, and other critical events in essentially all formats (dial-up, IP, cell, radio). Operates six hot redundant and load-sharing central stations (New Jersey, Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, Maryland).

Business advantages: “Providing a foundation for our dealers to grow and prosper is our only focus. We do not sell, install, own accounts, or compete with our dealers in any way. MPower, our powerful dealer access platform, is among the very best in the industry and is available in computer, tablet and smartphone versions. In addition to MPower, we provide additional value to our dealers by handling over 1,000 calls a month through our dedicated technical support department. Our subscriber version of MPower and MPower Me can be completely private labeled with the alarm company’s brand.  We also offer additional support services such as TeleMax dealer messaging and direct billing services.  Dealers also have access to equipment purchase discounts, marketing support, funding, loan and unique dealer programs through our strategic alliances.”

— Jim McMullen, President and COO

 EMERgency24 management says the central station was the first to sync video clips with accounts and offer video-related services years before anyone else.Emergency24

Company: EMERgency24

Headquarters: Des Plaines, Ill.; (800) 800-3624

Web site: emergency24.com

Years in business: 46

Number monitored accounts: N/A

Annual revenues: N/A

Employees: N/A

Licenses, certifications & accreditations: UL, FM Mutual, IQ, CSAA, ESA

Overview of Services: Fire, burglar, video, two-way voice, mechanical, environmental, elevator, emergency call, PERS and after-hours answering service.

Business advantages: “EMERgency24 makes it very simple for its dealers to manage their subscribers in the manner that suits their needs, including regular mail, fax, E-mail and also smartphone apps for when they are away from their desk. EMERgency24 supports all major receivers and formats and we offer the industry’s widest variety of security monitoring services using our proprietary software written by in-house developers. Additionally, EMERgency24 provides tools for success to help its dealers, such as a technical bulletin, end-user literature and even local leads generated from our online activities. All of this is backed the industry’s most dealer-friendly contract that states alarm dealers maintain complete account ownership; there is no forfeiture of accounts for late payments; dealers may cancel accounts with no obligations or cost with pro-rata refunds and there are no ‘right of first refusal’ provisions.”

— Kevin McCarthy, National Sales Manager

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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