Have You Reevaluated Your Monitoring Center’s Capabilities? Here’s Why You Should
Forward thinking is absolutely critical for monitoring companies’ central stations in order to ensure their customers are getting the best possible service.
MOST readers know that I have dedicated a large part of my career building and operating what was the largest third-party central station monitoring center in the United States. The support, services and benefits of what central monitoring centers provide is something I pay very close attention to on a regular basis. As a consultant I have the opportunity to work or interact with most of the relevant central monitoring centers as well as many diverse dealers both domestically and internationally. As an expert in this field, I am so pleased with what I am witnessing from some monitoring providers.
The centrals that have come to the realization that they are much more than a traditional monitoring center that reacts to incoming alarm traffic are the companies truly making great strides. Because of the rapid advancement of technologies and how they play an essential element in our industry, standing still is not an option. This advancement – which is a necessity for smart, secure and fast innovation – is really creating a distance between monitoring centers. In the past it was difficult to determine the difference among monitoring center competitors; the most common metric measured was response time. Although response time is still essential, we have come a long way!
Evolved Offerings Enhance Value Proposition for Dealers
Monitoring centers are starting to morph into something much greater. This is yielding new positions and services within these companies.
The most recent example and one that really epitomizes my perspective is the recent news on Morgan Hertel, a well-known security industry expert and operation leader who was promoted to a newly-created position (one we had never heard of from a central station) of “vice president of technology and innovation” for Rapid Response Monitoring. This is a prime example of where the monitoring industry is heading and what should be important to dealers throughout the world. This applies to the full-service dealers who own and operate their own monitoring center, as well as the dealers who contract with a third-party monitoring provider.
The technological enhancements and advancements to infrastructure, plus the development of new services that are valuable to dealers and end users are of paramount importance. This does not happen by itself and frankly is not on the radar of some monitoring centers.
Many new opportunities in the traditional alarm monitoring space continue to surface, and as these markets continue to develop it is essential that companies are in a position to drive this and are prepared to support them. Forward-thinking companies will be the ones making the difference.
A variety of subsectors within mobile monitoring, connected homes, connected businesses, etc., are just some of the obvious examples. Many others exist that are not so obvious, yet bring great value to everyone in the ecosystem.
It is obvious how life is changing, how technology plays a great part and how we have seen many leading companies in a variety of industries become extinct because they didn’t adapt. This could easily be the case for some alarm dealers and especially central stations for the very same reasons. Providing state-of- the-art systems, world-class services and premier customer support will always be at the center of a company’s offering, of course. Unfortunately, time has proven that this is no longer enough to stay on top and maintain growth.
Lessons Continue to Be Learned, for Better or Worse
Our industry had to take lessons from new entrants over the years to learn what consumers really wanted. Again, some traditional players were educated by newcomers and grew, while others began to fade. Some of the changes are more glaring than others.
We have all been a part of the metamorphosis of the consumer residential security/home control market change. The commercial segment (especially the larger, enterprise scale) is experiencing a similar expansion of expectations and services. Just as in smaller scale or residential where it is important to keep the competition out of your client’s space, the stakes are much higher in the larger scale. Everything from growth in automation services and monitoring to complete energy management could be differentiators. Companies such as EnTouch Controls, which provides turnkey monitoring and management solutions, are a prime example of how the proper partnership opportunity can strengthen a full-service dealer’s relationship with clients and keep their competition away.
Some may say that I am stating the obvious, and for those who are already engaged, well, it is obvious. What I can tell you firsthand is that this is not obvious to most that I meet; even some who recognize this are not adapting properly.
It doesn’t matter if you are a national third-party central station or an entrepreneurial small-town alarm dealer. It is essential to take a hard look around you at what is going on in the world and make sure that when you wake up each morning you are thrusting forward with modern technology and services. Your business depends upon this and your clients are depending on you – or someone else – to deliver this to them.
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