Value of 2-Way Audio

Despite the successful use of two-way audio verification through the years, questions are sometimes raised whether the technology offers enough benefits for it to maintain traction as a standard feature in security and life-safety systems.

Among the deciding factors why some central stations have declined to offer two-way audio in the past is the complexity and economics associated with properly outfitting a monitoring center to support the service. Although central station costs are higher, the cost difference from conventional monitoring to the dealer is minimal. Two-way voice monitoring allows dealers to enjoy an increase in fees and profits on what they charge their subscribers for monitoring.

Two-way audio adoption concerns can be overcome with a focused commitment, both logistically and financially, to providing the service in a manner that delivers maximum results.

Let’s take a look at why two-way audio verification technology should be a serious consideration and what the essential components are to building a strong company reputation and retaining long-term subscribers.

Vendors answer call — Equally important to central station support is the need for manufacturers to provide quality products with robust features. The industry is indeed seeing more suppliers introducing an assortment of two-way audio devices, including variations of the personal emergency response system (PERS).

To further impress the commitment of manufacturers, many have earned consideration for their products in the marketplace by delivering two-way audio verification through the latest communications structures such as GSM radio and the Internet.

Close more deals — Sales consultants usually strive for the “one-sit close.”  Two-way audio offers the edge to increase the ability of accomplishing this objective.

The dealer that focuses on two-way communication brings the central station into the equation of security in a clear manner. The element of a live demonstration takes this to another level, which makes the dealer’s proposition very difficult to compete with. Two-way audio gives you great ammunition as a tool that has been proven to increase closing ratios.

Additional peace of mind — I’m a believer that more security and “peace of mind” exists with the use of two-way audio verification. Beyond the obvious advantages in crisis situations, such as a medical emergency, burglary or fire, added comfort can be provided to a subscriber in an alarm event when the person under duress has the ear of an attentive monitoring professional.

As an added bonus for the dealer, the service oftentimes becomes so worthwhile to the subscriber that they tend to talk up the peace of mind factor, resulting in a significant increase in referral business and better client retention. A surefire means of reducing attrition rates is a thing of beauty unto itself.

False alarm reduction — A variety of reasons exist why alarms caused by subscriber error go unverified and result in false dispatches. Screening calls, call waiting, call forwarding and off-premise voicemail systems account for the majority of alarms that are not properly verified.

Two-way voice addresses these problems, including the issue of the subscriber leaving the premise before the callback, head-on. When two-way voice is supported properly, a callback to the premise is eliminated. The operator is able to utilize the same incoming telephone call from the digital communicator for verification purposes.

Taking it a step further, by eliminating the return telephone call and bypassing any possible services that will circumvent the call only increases the value of the verification process.

This worthwhile service is available to all alarm companies that do not operate their own central station.

Speak to your central station and hardware providers and decide for yourself on how two-way audio verification can be a great addition to your current ensemble of services.

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About the Author


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

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