Third party monitoring centers must also be able to handle all current digital dial-up formats and a wide variety of POTS-alternative transmission formats such as TCP/IP, cellular and radio. “As we move forward, central stations must be able to adopt and seamlessly integrate technology into their monitoring platform,” McMullen says. “The challenge with this is that it is tough to predict not only what technology will be developed, but also which ones will be reliable and widely accepted by dealers and consumers,” he adds.
An additional benefit some central stations provide is an annual conference. Affiliated’s next conference is Dec. 5, and will focus on video. Beyond technology, these events help individual dealers build relationships with one another with networking and learning opportunities from others in their same situation.
Staying on Top of Cutting-Edge Technologies
Security is going from looking for a guy with a mask and crowbar to services that let parents monitor kids at home, unlock doors and check their back yards from a distance. “Over the next three to five years, the prospects for the innovative dealer are very attractive,” Stuck says. “The new technology will resonate with a new type of customer. From the dealer’s standpoint, this is attractive — it is all about RMR.”
Dealers will have to know how to place the proper number of cameras in the right locations. Police and first responders are reluctant to respond to alarms that are not verified — and video verification is a deal-maker for fast, verified response. “We have seen the future and it is video — video verification of alarms, video guard tours and video concierge services,” Stuck says.
On top of that, video can follow a restaurant manager who leaves the café at 2 a.m. with the day’s receipts as she goes safely to the bank and leaves in her car. Those services have value to customers, and they all add to RMR (recurring monthly revenue).
“When it comes to new products and services on the market, we feel our role is to support all of the leading new tested and reliable technologies, and then help our dealers understand what’s available and how to adopt them,” McMullen says. They do that by inviting the different panel manufacturers and service providers to host training and seminars at each of their central stations.
Affiliated Monitoring, with an 82,000-square foot facility, is one of the largest monitoring services in the country and deals with everything from locally focused alarm dealers to national PERS and mass-market partners.
Monitor America has just ramped up, yet it has already achieved the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Five Diamond certification for its 25,000 square-foot facility. “Your central station partner needs to have a vision for the future,” Stuck says. Monitor America offers cloud-based services, enterprise-level and residential services ranging from hosted video and access control, virtual security tours, video concierge services, video escorting, video monitoring and video verification of alarms, in addition to real-time event reporting and PERS monitoring. A highlight of the facility is a 40 x 11 foot video wall where alarm events and video clips can be viewed for analysis.
The Benefits of Training
Training offered by the monitoring center partner should be essential to an alarm dealer. “A good central station partner can help a dealer sell the technology in his local market, provide the IP and IT assistance for installing the equipment, and verification of alarms,” Stuck says. “Like it or not, we are going to be forced to learn to sell, install and monitor new technologies like video.”
On top of learning to install and trouble shoot new technology like IP video, dealers are going to have to learn to sell the technology. “You need someone to take you by the hand and train you on selling and installing,” Stuck says.
Be sure to stick you head into one of the classrooms where you, or your people, will undergo training. Look at the kinds of technology that are used. Is the training center a plain 12-by-15 foot room with a few desks? Or, is there state-of-the-art technology available for the learning process?