Managing to Create New RMR
“It’s really a business solutions consultative sale. It’s not a hardware position where you say ‘buy my stuff,’” says HID’s Paul Kluttz, vice president, installing dealer channel team, North America. “They have to see this is a business strategy. They have to see the total business solution from beginning to end to get their mind around it.”
The ones that have embraced managed access control the fastest are the central station companies, which are already in the business of selling the concept of recurring revenue, Kluttz says.
“The traditional fire and burglar alarm companies have really kind of run out of [growth] revenue because those particular two entities have dropped substantially. They are looking for new ways to go back to their existing customer base and to be able to find new sources of RMR that are beneficial to their end user.”
Remote Video Is Blossoming
IMS Research, a provider of business forecasts in the security industry, released a report in the spring that was decidedly bullish on the remote video monitoring market. According to the research firm, video monitoring is “the fastest growing market in the remote monitoring industry.” Revenues are projected to grow 15 percent or more during the next five years in North America.
Among the most common applications are monitoring video signals to verify an intrusion alarm activation, verifying access for unattended deliveries and conducting remote guard tours. An application being explored, according to IMS, is using remote video for staff protection and bodyguard systems. While all players in the industry can agree video monitoring shows great promise, there still remains a significant shakeout period.
“We are certainly doing more video to the central station but as I talk to company owners, I’m not sure we all have the definition of what video to the central station is,” says Ed Bonifas, vice president of sales and marketing at Alarm Detection Systems Inc. (ADS) in Aurora, Ill., and a member of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Executive Committee. “If you talk to five different people you’ll get five different pictures of what exactly they are trying to do and how they are trying to get video to the central station.”
Jim Lantrip, a regional director of sales and applications support for ADT Security Services, can recount how far remote video has progressed to date. By chance coincidence 12 years ago, Lantrip sat next to a marketing manager for a national convenience store chain. Conversation ensued and Lantrip was soon using his laptop and an airplane phone connection to view remote video cameras housed in an ADT demo room back on the ground. Lantrip’s new acquaintance was impressed. &
ldquo;We made our first sale by accident,” he says.
However, the honeymoon didn’t last long. The client canceled the service three months later — soured by a sluggish video refresh rate unavoidably due to the slow dial-up connection of the day. Now that issue is moot. “With the propagation of the Internet, DSL lines, T1 lines and cable modems, the refresh rate is never a concern anymore,” says Lantrip.
Today from its national account monitoring center in Aurora, Colo., ADT’s remote monitoring and security control services provide remote access control, remote video surveillance, alarm video verification, remote video escorts and more.
One means to offset potential lost revenue due to any declines in intrusion alarm RMR will be to offer special services like video management, which is expected to become commonplace even for small businesses and the residential space, Lantrip says.
“It’s more than just looking into places but actually managing the video remotely for people where we take care of the storage and potentially incident management of video where we would review the video for customers,” he says.
Analytics and Managed Services
Video analytics is also emerging as an adjunct to remote video monitoring. Sonitrol Security Systems, which has been offering remote video verification for many years, recently began migrating to using video analytics as a detection method at some of its central stations.
“We are implementing intelligent cameras with video analytics built into it to detect human activity and vehicle movement,” says Rob Simopoulos, a partner in Sonitrol of South Central Ontario, Canadian division. Used for commercial and industrial sites, such as scrap metal and equipment rental yards, Simopoulos also makes use of customer’s existing analog cameras with a video analytics solution by ioimage. The analog video signal streams into an ioimage encoder and then to an IP server to send back to the monitoring station. Upon alarm, a 20-second clip of the scene is recorded and transmitted to the central station for verification.
Honeywell upped the managed services stakes with its newly released Rapid Eye™ report software, which allows central stations and dealers to offer clients automated system health-monitoring tools. Used in tandem with Rapid Eye DVRs, the software can immediately alert users via E-mail to malfunctions, sabotage, displacement or other problems detected in their video surveillance solution, and tag sites for maintenance service.
“We’ve added automation and reporting tools that enable companies to easily scale their businesses,” says Mike Scirica, director of product marketing, Honeywell Systems Group. “This has been the missing piece for them to really be able to effectively and efficiently manage dozens or hundreds of remote devices.”
Much like in the realm of access control, managed services are becoming valuable tools for central stations and dealers to differentiate and diversify their operations, says Scirica. A shift from DVRs to outsourced video surveillance services is in the offing.
“There are economies of scale where one company can set up the infrastructure to support it remotely,” he says. “They are more skilled at it. You are not reliant on the skill being in the local stores.”
Consider the logical path to managed video adoption, suggests Scirica: “Most companies are used to buying their utilities in bulk. They buy their telecom in bulk. Even their customer relationship management systems are all managed services. This falls right in line with that.”
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