Making More Money With Monitored Security Services

Technology advances and customer demand are broadening and deepening monitored security services opportunities.

Among the more prominent security-related services is remote guarding or video guard tours. Here, the principal driver for growth is providing the end user a viable alternative to the more costly manned guarding. Remote video guarding also offers dealers and integrators a particularly compelling sales argument: End users can now leverage the value of their investment in video and other security systems by making them more proactive than reactive.

For example, video escorts. Video cameras, speakers and microphones allow a user to initiate a video tour with the remote center by activating the tour button on the security system. The user can walk to their car with greater peace of mind, for instance, in a parking garage or lot and remain in full verbal communication with security personnel. Market niches that find remote guarding useful are large hospitals and campus settings where there is a real need to augment guarding personnel. Isolated facilities such as utility stations and other infrastructure are a natural fit for remote video services since many sites are oftentimes unmanned and targets for vandalism.

Video alarm verification is yet another prime example of a new type of RMR-generating service that is growing in prominence in both residential and commercial markets. Namely, video cameras can be viewed remotely to verify actual alarms or eliminate unnecessary police dispatches.

“Video verification services open a tremendous new path for dealers in the commercial space especially due to the decreasing costs of offering such enhancements to their existing alarm equipment,” Zydor says.

Environmental, Supervisory Detection Comes in Many Flavors

While most third-party central stations monitor environmental and supervisory alarms, installing security contractors oftentimes don’t sell nonsecurity event monitoring unless a client requests the additional service. Taking a proactive approach in offering event monitoring other than intrusion and fire alarms can improve closing ratios, increase RMR and create a stickier customer due to the perceived added value by the client.

The time is ripe for dealers and integrators to consider this RMR-generating niche anew. Improving sensor technology, cost-conscious end users, among other factors, are fueling an expanding market for environmental and supervisory monitoring, says James Beaty, director of business development for San Antonio-based United Central Control (UCC).

Companies that utilize an environmental management system (EMS) that includes sensors to control temperature, lighting, HVAC and other systems are prime candidates to monitor environmental and supervisory alarms.

“Cost savings, especially for big-box retail and some of the smaller retailers, is creating a lot of opportunity. If they knock $200 off a site per month [with an EMS] – consider they may have 100 stores or 1,000 stores – that is a huge savings,” Beaty explains. “For a single site business it is not as big of a driver. But as we get more and more into the consolidation and acquisitions of companies with multiple sites, it becomes a real multiplier.”

The most common types of environmental and supervisory events are room temperature thresholds, room humidity, flooding, low water level and power. Dealers and integrators should be offering these specialty monitoring alarms as a value-add to existing security and fire customers, Beaty suggests. When onsite, salespeople and even technicians should be perusing the customer’s facility to identify any additional monitoring services. Not only can specialty monitoring yield increased installation and RMR fees, it also serves to differentiate you from the competition.

Beaty is quick to advise these specialty monitoring services can be profitable when sold to smaller commercial customers as well. Consider a grocery store that stocks perishable products in a refrigerated stock room. “If those coolers go out they could lose a lot of merchandise,” he says. “Same thing for pharmacies. There are certain drugs that have to stay within a certain temperature.” Similarly, the application of environmental and supervisory alarms is obvious for the residential market. Combining low-cost wired and wireless sensors along with central station monitoring is attractive to upper-scale homeowners, and those with vacation homes that are unoccupied for long periods.

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About the Author

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Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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