Monitoring Pros Analyze Latest Tech, DIY, RMR

When it comes to generating security-related recurring revenues there’s no more holistic viewpoint than that of wholesale central stations. Leading providers discuss hot opportunities and why dealers should partner with them.

Monitoring Pros Analyze Latest Tech, DIY, RMR

Today’s wholesale central stations are among the security industry’s most sophisticated facilities, helping dealers succeed on a number of levels.

What are some specific value-adds you offer security dealer customers?

Ron Wies, President, Monitoring America: We are a bit different in that we are a co-op owned by our alarm dealers, our customers. The major financial decisions are made by our board of directors, which is made up of a group of our alarm dealers.

Our members receive a dividend check each year. We do not monitor for the subscriber. All of our income is from our dealers, we don’t bill individual subscribers.

We are not in competition with our dealers. We answer the phone in our dealers’ names and all communication with the subscriber, contacts and the authorities is in the name of our dealers.

Our slogan is, “This is your central station.” We monitor alarms according to the desires of our dealers.

Don Maden, Executive V.P., COPS: Our dealers get the reliability of six central stations for the same price they would pay for monitoring at a single location.

I would definitely categorize the level of redundancy our award-winning network of load-sharing central stations provides as a considerable value-add to our dealer base and their customers.

Smith: COPS’ value-adds include TeleMax dealer answering services, billing and collections services, and private-labeled subscriber account management.

We know how to help dealers succeed, but we also understand the limitations of our area of expertise, which is why we partner with select companies who specialize in specific areas.

By doing so we can give our dealers the expert support they need at every step in their lifecycle.

Hertel: Rapid Response’s sales engineers will provide in-person and remote training for dealer personnel on our latest services, integrations and connectivity applications.

Our sales team will also support dealers by hosting visits to our facilities along with their key clients, or even traveling with dealers to key clients’ offices to provide training on connectivity and jointly present with the dealer.

We have dedicated support teams focused on providing dealers with assistance and guidance whenever possible.

These include: sales engineers, signal management team, transfer team and a technical support team available to assist dealers with panel programming and communication troubleshooting.

Additionally, all Rapid Response dealers have a dedicated senior account manager and a dedicated customer service account executive that learns their business and provides support directly to their company.

Plus, our incredible connectivity suite of applications provides dealers and end users with real-time access to their accounts at no additional charge.

Does your facility monitor DIY systems? If so, have you gotten backlash?

Bailey: Yes, and we have not seen a backlash. Most often the dealers are the ones providing the DIY systems, so the competition is merely internal.

These are largely a completely different market segment. A subscriber who typically would not hire a security company to install a full-fledged system in their home now has a place in the security industry and is providing revenue in a unique way.

They are opening up an entirely new group of users, much like a tree grows a whole new branch. The idea that one branch is killing off another is false.

Many DIY systems are not permanent fixtures in a home, so they can be taken with the owner when they move. With such a mobile generation becoming prevalent in the market, this is a separate approach to a new need.

Teresa Gonzalez, President, UCC: UCC has adopted several entrants in this space. Industry statistics reflect that the security industry has penetrated roughly 22% of all residences in America.

Of the remaining 78%, many of those home-owners prefer to install the system themelves and, therefore, were likely never going to be a prospect for a traditional alarm company.

But these people only represent a tiny share of the overall 78% of prospective customers that totals in the tens of millions.

We also encourage our traditional installing dealers to consider adding DIY to their portfolio of services to create more opportunity for their companies.

Are self-monitored systems, or MIY, a threat to your business?

Wies: Self-monitored systems are a joke. We all carry cellphones and often don’t have time to check our text messages.

Self-monitoring requires that the home or business owner always be able and willing to check their messages and respond.

Most centrals are now monitoring DIY systems and do not see them as a threat to pro installed systems. However, they don’t see MIY as viable.

This simply won’t happen. When someone’s house burns down because they didn’t look at the text message and call the fire department, they will see that professional monitoring is the only way to go.

Maden: MIY and professional monitoring aren’t in mutually exclusive groups or on opposite ends of the same continuum.

Just like DIY and professionally installed systems, MIY and professional monitoring can coexist. For instance, young renters might favor both DIY and MIY, if anything at all.

However, as they grow, mature and have more things that are important to them like a home, pets and then a family, a DIY/MIY customer may want to rely on the security and peace of mind of a professionally installed and monitored system.

Professional monitoring can also be turned on and off based on need, as a fallback after a certain time, and may even become more “on demand” in the future.


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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