Why Now Is the Time to Pursue PERS & mPERS

An expanding market makes mPERS offering more appealing than ever.

Personal emergency response systems (PERS) have been around for decades in a variety of forms, and as our population continues to age this market will only expand.

Several elements have affected the growth of this channel including change and improvement in technology, marketing to new vertical markets and, of course, the need created by a population that’s living longer with requirements for care away from traditional hospitals and institutions.

Most security providers who understand the PERS business know that this channel experiences high attrition or churn of accounts. Given the sensitivity and age of the average subscriber, it is not typical or appropriate to have term contract commitments.

Therefore, all subscribers are typically contracted on a month-to-month basis. Depending on a company’s target vertical market(s), providers can expect to experience subscriber churn of 30%-40% percent annually. This is obviously much higher than the average attrition of a typical intrusion security alarm business.

mPERS Empowers Users With Greater Reach, Features

One element that seems to have positively impacted these high expected churn percentages is the introduction of mobile PERS (mPERS).

Because mPERS is operational whether a subscriber is at home or anywhere they have mobile cellular access, mPERS subscribers typically start their subscription at a younger age compared with the traditional PERS user.

The key feature of most mPERS is the ability to track a user via built-in GPS and mobile network location-based tracking. This allows your central monitoring station to know where the subscriber is when they press their emergency button or when their fall detector is activated.

A few of the forward-thinking manufacturers make mPERS even more attractive and beneficial with the option of an add-on mobile app that provides enhanced caregiver interaction and communications.

Such apps may offer a caregiver status notifications regarding current and past whereabouts of a loved one, activity data, health measurements and more.

Additionally, some manufacturers offer hybrid systems that allow a subscriber to enjoy the benefits of an in-home system for when they are home plus the reliability to travel away from the home with their discreet, easy-to-wear integrated mobile device.

Caregivers are offered peace of mind knowing when their loved ones are at home, when they leave their home and when they return home all without having to engage in telephone calls that both parties could take as annoying, burden-some and sometimes creepy.

Other matters subscribers’ systems can address (and make similarly less intrusive) may include sending manual or automated messages to a loved one to remind them to take medication or to leave for a doctor’s appointment.

Anelto (anelto.net) and Nortek Security & Control’s Numera (numera.com) are just a couple of good examples of manufacturers that offer robust mPERS solutions supported by apps or web-based tools that simplify operations and communications.

Potential Customer Base Bigger Than Ever

Some may be wondering why I’m revisiting a subject that has been around for a long time. The answer is simple – this market is going through another reinvention and expansion.

The technology partners plus the increased and affordable use of cellular wireless technology have accelerated the uses and benefits.

The target audience is evolving and expanding, as potential customers now range from traditional elderly subscribers (with increasingly longer lifespans) to newer and younger subscribers – particularly professions like realtors, drivers and other individuals who spend a good deal of their day in transit and on their own.

Understanding that all businesses and market sectors come with risk and that this endeavor like others in our industry must be managed by the numbers, security providers can recognize that anything they can do to increase subscription and reduce attrition is of paramount importance.

Having said this, you have to think about the factors that lend themselves to a successful addition to your portfolio of services. Traditionally we’ve seen a variety of PERS providers who prosper despite the high churn mentioned earlier and focused on a narrow segment of the aging population.

With new younger subscriber and lone worker prospects to tap into thanks to sleek and savvy feature-rich mPERS solutions, “Holy Grail” quests of the industry like market expansion and reduction in attrition are being addressed in an appealing and potentially profitable manner.

However, like any new business jumping into PERS and mPERS takes due diligence.

Although this channel does have many parallels to the intrusion business, don’t forget you will need to research and understand the differences in contracting, insurance and other important aspects.

Take a look around at what some of the leading providers are offering and how the developers and manufacturers can help you boost your business.


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About the Author

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

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