In View of Verified Alarms

Keith Jentoft, president of RSI Video Technologies, a provider of remote monitoring solutions, assumes the “Hot Seat” this month to discuss issues arising from alarm verification.

Are you concerned responding agencies won’t be able to handle increased dispatch demand as technologies increase the amount of verified alarm events?

Making apprehensions at crime scenes motivates police and is one of their basic functions. Video technology increases the number of “eyewitnesses” and helps police perform effectively. Response priority is based upon many factors, including maximizing effectiveness of limited resources. Police will reallocate resources to those activities that deliver apprehensions away from those that don’t. If the goal of the industry is maximizing the value of our services, priority police response is crucial. The most obvious means to achieve this is to deliver more apprehensions and improve police effectiveness. Video is a proven and effective means to accomplish this goal.

What part must the industry play to help responding agencies — especially those claiming budget constraints — meet the rise in actual alarm events?

Instead of contention, we advocate cooperation between industry/law enforcement. The concept is, ‘Give us incentive to upgrade the infrastructure.’ We have never found a law enforcement agency that is not willing to give higher priority to crimes-in-progress than standard alarms. Even in non-dispatch areas police want to apprehend criminals. They will readily cooperate and apprehend criminals if we can reliably inform them where they are. I believe that the industry’s biggest task is to find a cost-effective way to deliver video to the residential mass market for video police priority.

Do you anticipate that alarm verification will be a large factor in the wider adoption of residential video surveillance?

Residential consumers purchase intrusion alarms because they want police response in the event of an intrusion. They want protection of their family and their property. Fear of losing police response is the main force behind the battle against non-dispatch. What will consumers do when they have the option for higher priority response for a few more dollars a month? Europe has proven that they will purchase greater protection. It is currently a cost issue. When this concept is affordable it will be embraced on a large scale because people want to buy protection.

On a different topic, you are a vocal advocate for security companies doing more to fight the copper theft epidemic. What is the potential in this arena for small to midsized dealers to create new revenue opportunities?

Affordable, effective outdoor security is an untapped market open to midsized dealers including: construction, fenced storage yards, rooftop HVAC systems and car lots. This is untapped because the typical solutions were too expensive and too labor intensive to be viable. Videofied [RSI’s wireless video solution] makes these applications affordable and makes them simple so that they can be served by the typical installer instead of a CCTV expert.

The entire system needs no AC power and will operate for up to two years on one set of batteries. The system is weatherproof and will operate from -20F to +140F. It works through a Minnesota blizzard and they survived Hurricane Ike. Because the system is truly wireless they can be used in ways that have not been possible. For construction sites, a typical installation is two cameras mounted on a pole stuck in a five gallon bucket of concrete. The bucket can be immediately moved to wherever security is needed such as to secure appliances once they have been delivered.

Moreover, because most construction theft involves people who have been on the jobsite, the supervisor can move the ‘bucket cams’ at the end of every workday to keep subcontractors honest. This kind of flexibility in a weatherproof system has never been available at this cost (less than $2,500 retail).

Which clientele or market segment would you suggest dealers look to contact first when getting their feet wet in this type of security sale?

Vacant buildings and foreclosed property are obvious staring points. Videofied needs no AC power and reports video alarms over the cell network. When it is pre-programmed and tested with the central station before leaving the shop, installations take under 20 minutes. The system can be immediately moved once the building is sold.

A secondary benefit is that the property management companies are now able to quantify the sales efforts or real estate agents because they can receive a video of each time the property is shown. The system can also log every maintenance call so that the property manager can verify that a contractor was actually present as their invoice claims.

‘Blended video’ is another entry point that has been very successful. Blended video combines high-end megapixel CCTV with Videofied acting as ‘remote sentries.’ Video is separated into two categories: detect/notify and stream/document. Videofied detects an intruder, send the video clip of the intrusion over the cell network and the central station notifies the owner or guard of the event. Once alerted the owner can log into the high-end p/t/z and coordinate response activities. In essence, Videofied is an RMR front end to a self-monitored surveillance system. For the price of 10 wired basic CCTV cameras a dealer can sell 1 or 2 extremely good cameras and 10 remote sentries that can be placed anywhere and moved as needed. More money spent on fewer, better cameras supported by cost-effective portable remote sentries that detect/notify. This blended video system can cost less and deliver better performance than a typical system of 10 wired static IP cameras.  Security Sales & Integration

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