Kevin McCarthy, national sales manager, EMERgency24, Des Plaines, Ill.—Technology is the driving force behind our industry. Today's customers are more tech-savvy and involved with their security systems than ever before because they are able to control them via their personal phones, iPads or other digital devices from anywhere. End-users are able to use their alarm systems for more than security. By actively checking their account history, a system owner can see if the kids made curfew, determine what time the maid arrived and ascertain if certain areas of the premise have been accessed. All of that information is available in real-time. Not only can today's systems do everything traditional systems can do, they now can send video clips and allow end-users to check into protected areas via the Internet.
While the breadth of services increases, prices will tend to trend downward. The reason is that there are viable options for that tech-savvy user that ably replace the traditional system. For the next generation or two, we know there will always be a market for central-station services because we are always available; we are always awake; and we are always ready to serve. As connected as society is becoming, a person cannot monitor their system like a central station can. Ours is a service that allows you to travel worry-free, sleep soundly at night and live life to the fullest. Should there ever be an emergency, we will be watching and reacting accordingly, 24 hours a day.
Tim Leblanc, president, General Monitoring Services (GMS) Central, Long Beach, Calif.—There is always going to be a need for monitoring. We're losing POTS lines but radio and IP are filling the gap. From a central station standpoint, we'd rather see the dealer opt for radio because it generates more revenue for us and it's more reliable at this point. And while I see video monitoring slowly expanding over the next five years, I don't think it's going to be the big boom everybody is looking for. Dealers are not up-to-date on the technology. If you went to the ISC West show, there were just aisles and aisles of video platforms out there but most of them are proprietary—and that doesn't do anybody any good. The dealers are going through a real learning curve right now and they are looking for something that is inexpensive, easy to install and easy to maintain. The other thing we see is that the alarm company today has to become more professional in what they are doing. Even if you're a small company, you have to protect your assets, make sure your contracts are right, that you are carrying the proper types of insurance and that you have got the proper exit strategy from the industry when you decide to get out of it. It's a constant education program.
We've been growing at a nice steady pace and we attribute it to the fact that we keep up with the central station technology. If a central station isn't keeping up with the technology, the dealer can't expand and grow and so they start to look elsewhere. You have to make an annual investment in technology. There's just no way around it.
Using DICE, we're going to a universal platform for video monitoring, which will allows me to run one basic platform to monitor all my accounts. We are also doing a lot of PERS business today and probably adding 1,000 PERS accounts each month.
Keith Burke, operations manager, Grand Central Station, Hayward, Calif.—The future of the security industry will see a convergence of multiple technologies that will allow central stations to supply a higher level of service to our clients. The continued trend of affordable IP-based video and analytics coupled with Universal Video interface products like Immix will play a key role in enhancing our monitoring services. Video products will give central stations the ability to collect more accurate information and disseminate that information to responders, which will heighten police response procedures and expedite dispatches.
Virtual operators, guard tours and alarm verification will become increasingly important in the future. In the past, all video events had to be handled by a live operator which was very cost-prohibitive. With the products that we integrated into our central station—like Check Video, Immix by Sureview and Video Iq—we can have the analytics do 90 percent of the work by programming very specific parameters into the edge devices. Once the equipment has performed its job, our operators can complete the process by utilizing our Universal Video Interface to view hundreds of CCTV products with a singular look and feel. These video products will open new markets for alarm companies that will significantly increase RMR opportunities.