Video verification is popular topic in the security industry today. We have an interesting confluence of technological advancement, municipal budget constraints and a more technically sophisticated clientele. Most importantly, in my opinion, we have a tremendous opportunity to make people safer and to create new sources of recurring monthly revenue (RMR) for our businesses.
The primary focus of discussions about video verification tends to be the potential impact on our existing account bases. The fear is that video verification will cause the police to stop responding to traditional security systems and our clients to cancel. I believe clients with traditional security systems are safer than they would be without a system. (Statistics overwhelmingly prove this.) I also genuinely believe that if we add video verification to our existing clients they will be even safer. I see video verification as an enhancement for those clients who choose to upgrade. We do not sell one size fits all security systems as an industry and we never have. Adding video verification is an upgrade like interactive services, additional security devices, or maintenance. It is also clearly an opportunity to add RMR to new and existing accounts.
The second focus is on the first responders. Non response is a real issue in many parts of our country and the fear is that police will stop responding. We will have to work with the AHJs to educate them on the strengths and weaknesses of video verification technologies. (With fellow board members of the Nevada Security Association we had a meeting with the Henderson Police Department in December 2012 to discuss video verification.) As municipal budgets shrink, police departments are being forced to cut back and it would be easy for the uneducated to decide not to respond to alarms. As an industry we have focused on false alarm reduction and we have made great improvements. The “verification” in video verification is not just about verifying the presence of a person on the property. It is the ability of the central station to call the police and tell them that they have video of a person at the sight, have called the responsible party list and do not know why someone is on the premises. This is clearly an enhancement to simply reporting zones in alarm and will lead to increased capture and deterrence. We will have to work with our local and national associations, (I am a board member of PPVAR (Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response) and our industry to ensure a consistent message that security systems keep people and property safe and additionally how video verification can enhance that process.
What is rarely talked about in these discussions are the end users and the opportunity. I believe today’s security end users are more technically sophisticated than the solutions our industry offers. Business owners and managers have smartphones and just like us they are increasingly leveraging the power of these devices to run and manage their businesses. They need to know in real time what is happening in their businesses and if there is an alarm, they want to see what caused it. This is an amazing opportunity.
Real world example and opportunity
An example of the opportunity is Jenn Tagle, a small systems sales person from my alarm company, American Video and Security (AVS), in Las Vegas. She sold $701 in RMR and $15,221 in installations for the month of November 2012. Jen joined AVS seven months ago and was trained to sell small commercial systems with video verification. Jenn is a sharp lady and her B2B background (Sears pest control utilizing a planned presentation) certainly helps her in her small systems role. Jenn sold a video verified system on her second sales appointment with AVS. We utilize a tablet and a planned presentation to show the service, how it works and then send an alarm video clip to the potential client’s smartphone. The customer instantly gets the value proposition.