Roundtable: Transitioning into video monitoring

Industry experts discuss the challenges for central stations that want to enter the video monitoring business

Iverson: Typically, an alarm will go off and notify the operator, who will go back and look at the camera. The operators can look at a certain time, of whatever the software is programmed for. They can look around and see what’s going on, call a responder, the police department or whatever the client would like to have us do.
Chavarria: We normally do remote event response and some of those events require video interaction, such as in the security industry when you have to log-in and verify that something has taken place. Sometimes we have to intervene. We also do things like remote video escorts - we’ll log-in and watch employees go to their cars and make announcements through loudspeakers to let whoever is around aware that there’s remote video interaction. We’re also a bona fide call center in that we take incoming events and route them to a qualified available operator and tell them how to respond.
Sparkman: That really comes down to how we customize the solution for the customer. We can do it either way. We can do a proactive, 24-hour monitoring solution where we’re constantly watching video. The most effective and efficient is for us to use exception-based monitoring, where we’ve got an alarm point tied to an area of protection where when that alarm point is set off, not only does it send the alarm to the operator, but it sends the associated video. That’s certainly much more cost-effective for the customer - especially if they’ve got thousands of locations.   
SIW: What type of effect has the economy had on the video monitoring space?
Krebs: We think that (video monitoring) is going to be a great way for central stations to tap into new and different RMR streams that weren’t available previously. We’re also finding that guard companies embrace our technology and are using it to supplement their guarding efforts. So, we’re seeing a really broad appeal across the industry for these types of services and they’re going to provide additional revenues for central stations. Central stations that don’t have these products and services will probably remain flat.
Chavarria: I think it has evened out. A lot of car dealerships are closing, which was a huge market for remote video monitoring. In turn, discount retailers and mid-sized retailers are flourishing in the economy and they’re also looking for some cost-cutting and have more capital to invest, so we’ve seen some more business come in from that direction.
Adkins: We’ve seen a shift, especially for guard services. We’ve had customers want to save money by cutting physical guards and replace them with our virtual guard tour. We’ve also had customers that perform their own monitoring who have approached us about outsourcing their monitoring to us to save salary overhead.