Matlock: Education for dealers is critical. Central stations need to be gatekeepers for new technologies to bring to their dealer base.
What are you doing to help subscribers move forward with technology?
Cohen: All of these services put more control in the hands of tech-savvy subscribers to effectively manage their alarm/automation systems.
Clarke: People don't want other people looking into their houses. Web-based monitoring is a product that can be invasive. People like us to be able to unlock their front door but we have to be careful to keep control in the customer's hands. Providers have to determine the things customers want to do themselves and what the customers want the provider to handle for them. We find that monitoring cameras outside the house are fine-inside, not as much.
Matlock: Among other things, we offer CEU training classes. We are looking for the latest technologies to add to our service offerings so dealers can find something that fits their business needs and to offer their customers.
What do you expect the central station of the future to look like?
Cohen: It will look very similar to today's central stations. The key difference will be more sophisticated technology behind the scenes not visible to the dealer or their subscriber. There will remain a critical need for operators and customer service personnel even with the addition of numerous remote control features. An important question to ask: 'What type of training will be provided to central station personnel to support more advanced technology?'
Clarke: The next step will be more video for response verification and providing information to responding authorities. In two years, video in the central station will be the norm. That goes beyond simply noting that a door has been left open for more than five minutes. People will have to pay for it, however. But in five years it will be a must-have service-by then it may not be a premium service but part of the typical bundle.
Matlock: The central station's portfolio of revenue will come from interactive and IP-related services as well as from other video.
Central Stations Services
Affiliated Central: Web monitoring product support services include (but are not limited to): Napco; Bosch; DSC; Honeywell; TelDat; FireLite; Silent Knight; and DMP.
Monitronics: The 2 Gigabit Go-control panel from Monitronics is self-managed through the Web. The consumer has the capability to extend the panel to their PDA rather than have the central station manage it, allowing them to engage with their system.
United Central Control: In the area of IP receivers, UCC support includes DSC; GE; DMP; Bosch; FireLite; Napco; and AlarmNet. Also included-Connect24; Alarm.com; iControl; and uControl. In video, UCC offers Immix video and iConnect video monitoring services, including the iConnect receiver.