Managing to Create New RMR

Thinking Outside the Security Box

Sometimes lost in the pursuit of forecasting new RMR streams are the ancillary services that lie outside the security monitoring circle. For instance, the business of monitoring temperature controls for critical processes, food storage, IT networks and computers, even environmental conditions on a chicken farm.

“When we work with our customers we try to have conversations about what other needs they may have related to industrial process and critical conditions in their applications to see where we can add some additional value,” says Steve Walker, vice president of customer service centers, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions (CSS) Inc. “Oftentimes they aren’t aware of the opportunity and the value we might bring to them to monitor other parts of their business.”

Stanley CSS has a client in the business of supplying gourmet food luxuries. Kept in a freezer chest not unlike those found in countless home basements is more than $1 million worth of beluga caviar. Only this client’s freezer is safeguarded around the clock with temperature control monitoring.

Among the more critical services provided by Stanley CSS is monitoring hundreds of radio towers across the United States. Should the light beacons on a tower ever fail, an aviation hazard materializes instantly. That’s why the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires towers exceeding a certain height to be monitored.

Once upon a time, farmers and other residents living near radio towers were paid to make daily inspections and report light failures. Today, beacon alarms are transmitted to Stanley’s ProtectionNet™ Customer Service Center in Plymouth, Minn., where monitoring specialists relay them to the FAA, which in turn makes the information available to pilots.

As security devices destined for various verticals and market niches continue to advance and become more accessible, centrals stations are making strides in-house as well to keep pace with the evolving marketplace. Bart Didden, president of U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp. in Port Chester, N.Y., this year deployed an innovative monitoring platform that operates simultaneously across all three of its monitoring centers (New York, Connecticut and Minnesota). The Stages™ platform is part of Didden’s effort to transition U.S.A. “not to be an alarm monitoring company, but to become a monitoring company.”

The new platform includes a feature to monitor computer networks and individual CPUs anywhere in the world for functionality and uptime. “If an alarm dealer or a networking company has a customer with essential CPUs in located in a remote area or they are not attended 24/7, we can monitor those and notify essential personnel when a computer goes down,” Didden says. “We can monitor those CPUs for a reasonable price and the dealer can make a good margin on it.”

Central stations can even provide administrative services that can aid dealers to focus entirely on sales, installations and maintaining customer relationships. U.S.A., for instance, operates a billing and collection service, along with an answering service solely designed for alarm installation companies.

Like so many central stations, the business of monitoring security and fire/life-safety alarms continue to be the underpinning of his company, Didden says, even as he keeps a clear eye on the horizon.

“That is what has brought us to where we are today. But tomorrow we will be monitoring more than just alarm systems,” he says.

Why PERS Is Worth Perusing

By Kevin Lehan

[IMAGE]11964[/IMAGE]Alarm dealers now have the opportunity to expand their service offering with a program that can be marketed direct to existing customers, as well as other security-minded people.

Although the application of a personal emergency response system (PERS) is not new, the market for it is catching fire as life expectancy rises in the United States and the cost of assisted living and nursing care continue to skyrocket.

As Baby Boomers head into retirement, few services match the potential of PERS. In fact, dealers that choose to offer
PERS will be able to build a recurring monthly revenue (RMR) stream with minimal service.

For most installations all that’s needed is a working electrical outlet and a live telephone line. Also, because installation is simple enough that senior citizens often do it themselves, some monitoring companies will take receipt of the hardware from the dealer, preprogram it and drop ship to the end user.

Comprised of a two-way voice communicator and a push-button transmitter, a PERS provides the means to call for help around the clock from virtually anywhere in a home at the press of a button. With instant access to request medical attention, local police or fire department personnel, PERS provide senior citizens and their loved ones the confidence for independent living.

Waterproof transmitters are conveniently worn on a lightweight necklace, as a wristband or on a belt clip. When pushed, the transmitter sends a signal to a receiver that is connected to the home telephone line. This activates a two-way voice communicator built into the receiver. Advanced technology allows PERS receivers to be heard and to pick up voices from almost anywhere in a house. For larger homes, there are amplifiers that extend the coverage area of the two-way voice communicator.

When the signal is received at the central station, a trained monitor will announce that they have received an emergency signal. After discussing the situation with the end user, a quick evaluation will be made as to whether an ambulance is needed or if a call should be placed to a designated friend or family member. Plus, during emergencies, the monitor will stay on the line to provide comfort until help has arrived.

In addition to the senior citizen market, PERS can be marketed specifically for residential or commercial protection as well. For example, if a potential customer balks at the cost (or perceived need) of a full-fledged security system, PERS can act as a dispatching device for emergency situations, i.e. panic, fire or environmental alarms. This is also an option for retail outlets and only requires a silent-alarm feature and two-way listen-in capability.

Kevin Lehan is manager of public relations for EMERgency24, a third-party monitoring company based in Chicago. He can be contacted at (773) 725-0222, ext. 6917, or via E-mail, [email protected].

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About the Author


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 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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