Tony Wilson, president of Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS), Longwood, Fla.—By far, interactive services will have a steady increase. With a rise in end-user technology—such as smart phones and iPads—central stations may become less operator-centered and may place more emphasis on technical aspects such as allowing the customer to view their monitoring sites in real-time; or viewing motion-controlled areas in their home or business when movement is detected. 2011 has been a difficult year across all industries but we've been fortunate to have our RMR on the rise. To profit from RMR, we reinvest in our employees—our best asset—making sure all employees are current on training and certifications. They keep us at a competitive edge by providing customers with exceptional customer service.
Our main operating platform is UTC's MASterMind. Our core services include residential and commercial monitoring, commercial fire, medical monitoring and interactive services such as video and two-way voice. Alarm.com and Honeywell's Total Connect allow end-users to control their alarm panel from a mobile device or smartphone, giving customers more control over their panels.
Jacky Grimm, director of Security Solutions, Diebold, North Canton, Ohio —As security continues to evolve, the central station will become an even more critical source of intelligence. First, we will continue to vet rapidly changing technology. That means extensive testing before new technology is ever deployed—verifying that it performs as expected, is interoperable with other systems and doesn't expose end-users to logical risk when operating over a network. Second, we will deliver data that enables more efficient business operations. That means continuing to leverage security equipment to deliver business-related information, such as HR, marketing or energy data. Such insight gives security a more valuable business role and extends the ROI of security investments.
Those investments include all of the central station technologies we utilize today, from video management to VMS systems, access control to alarm management systems. Our offering must keep pace with evolving security needs and the availability of new features and functionalities.
Through the RMR model, security integrators like Diebold are making those new features and functionalities more accessible. We have offered outsourced services for the better part of a decade to make managing a security program and deploying new technologies easier and more flexible. This model transforms the security investment from a capital outlay to a predictable, monthly operating expense that will only increase in popularity with budget-conscious end-users.
Mark Hillenburg, executive director of Marketing, Digital Monitoring Products (DMP), Springfield, Mo. —At our forum and in other areas of the industry, you hear of alarm dealers that are completely abandoning phone lines and moving to one of three solutions: radio; Internet network communication; or cellular/GSM. But each one of these three options has their own set of pitfalls that go with them.
With AES, the good news is that you own your network; the bad news is you own your network. If a tower gets struck by lightning or gets blown over, you have to bear the cost of replacing that—no one else is going to share that responsibility. With Internet and network communication, this is really the choice for a commercial environment. The difficulty comes in a residential application where there is no IT infrastructure. Quality of service guarantees that often times the DSL or broadband routers are not battery-backed up so that creates some complication for the homeowner for residential security. Cellular looks like the odds-on favorite to be the solution of choice but it doesn't have 100 percent coverage across the U.S. From our perspective, GSM is the best solution for a residential site (has the best forward-path, speed and bandwidth); IP is the best answer commercially.
Everything these days is about RMR and adding it. As an industry, we have to remember that there is no RMR until the initial contract is signed and that typically means a security system. With that initial security system sale, there is a contract and than that security is sort of the backbone of what we do. Only then do you get to add on additional services—video or being able to arm/disarm my control panel from my cell phone. All of our development is in IP and cellular. The development of our SCS-VR virtual receiver allows that initial primary piece of recurring revenue for the security account to happen on a lower cost, easy-to-manage scenario. It allows you as a central station to build up on that with the other varied services you want to add.