Living and learning

The alarm industry gets it. They understand the tie-in to computer and information technology. They understand it's much more than providing burglar and fire alarms, or at least it is if success is to follow. This was quite evident at the recent ISC West show. Take, for example, Alarm Net, a Honeywell Communications network and its Total Connect program. It's evolution in action. The alarm industry is doing more than monitoring openings and closings. Total Connect lets authorized dealers provide customers value-added services (another phrase you will hear us talk about more and more in the near future). Basically it sends SMS or text messages to laptops, pda's, cellular telephones and more to alert the customer of activity or alarms at the home or business. Another emerging facet of this is video--another value-add of the program lets connected customers "look in" on the home or business.

There's another interesting phenomenon emerging, also from the consumer and computer side of the business: AlarmNet offers three months free of the Total Connect digital communications services, and they are not the only one to take off with this new marketing tactic. Agent Vi's Chief Executive Officer Buddy Flerl talked excitedly at the show about the company offering unlimited video analytics on up to three cameras for an enterprise system free for 90 days. Of course, they are playing off that fact that after that trial period you'll be hooked and you won't be able to live without it.  And, Agent Vi's solution is not demonstration software on steriods, but the full-fledged program which is yours to tinker with during that three-month period.

The alarm industry gets it. There's much more value to signaling and communications. The consumer venue is leading the charge and security manufacturers and distributors are learning from that side of the business. Another example, and if you didn't see it at ISC you missed a great show: the new platform for IP video control from OnSSI called Ocularis that lets users deploy their own personal touch pad stylus (like a finger) to control and manage IP video. Fantastic! Or Brivo, with its Web-hosted access control architecture (the OnSite SE product won two NPS awards at ISC West ) that does so much more than provide access control--it provides "econtrol"---management, accountability--truly value-added services.  It's all so exciting and great to be witness to an industry whose time truly has come.