The formula for many security alarm providers has lately been to give customers remote access to their security systems. Operations like Alarm.com and Honeywell's Total Connect have made it their focus, and the trend continues. At ISC Solutions, a tradeshow for alarm dealers in the New York area, Telular put its hat in the mix with a new smartphone application that lets consumers arm, disarm and check the status of their alarm systems from afar.
The application, known as Telguard Interactive, is currently available for the iPhone, but according to the company's vice president of marketing and business development Shawn Welsh, an Android version of the application will be available in a few days and a BlackBerry version will be available by the end of November. Dealers would be able to begin offering the remote access service using the smartphone app at the beginning of December, he said.
The application relies on the installation of a Telguard TG-1 Express cellular communicator, and the business model, said Welsh, allows an alarm company to upgrade or takeover a new account and offer that customer remote access without having to upgrade their whole alarm panel if it's an older panel that doesn't support remote services. Welsh said the dealer's financial difference between the cost of simply installing a TG-1 Express (approx. cost: $130) to work with the existing panel and the cost of replacing the entire panel would be hundreds of dollars. The business model to the dealer is that with a TG-1 Express cellular communicator, the customer pays the dealer a recurring monthly cost for cellular communications to the panel (no phone line is needed), and then for a small extra cost each month, the dealer can offer the remote access application's service.
The application itself handles not only arming and disarming of the system, but it also provides system status, status history and can send alerts to whomever the customer might request (neighbor, family member, nearby friend). The system allows customized naming of the zones controlled by the alarm system.
"We found out that most of the market are people who want to simply arm or disarm their systems and know whether their system is armed or disarmed, all remotely," said Welsh. He added that the application has a very consumer-minded design, and isn't just an alarm keypad replicated in an iPhone application. The company also allows demonstrations of the application. To do so, download the app from the iTunes app store and use "Demo" as the username and password. Telguard has more information about the application at telguard.com/interactive.