Comcast and Brink's Team Up to Solve VoIP Challenge

Cable services provider Comcast is linking its business with that of Brink's Home Security, and in doing so, they're overcoming the challenge of alarm signals over VoIP.

The new business plan is to offer both services through each technology provider. In markets like Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis and Jacksonville, Comcast and Brink's Home Security will be cross-training technical staff and customer service. Both sets of staff members will be familiar with how their technology works with that from the other company. It's a plan, the companies say, that should lead to "reliable alarm signal transmissions, faster installations, fewer service visits, and seamless customer service calls".

Much of the partnership stems from the fact that many security customers no longer use standard POTS (plain old telephone service), and are instead switching to phone delivered over IP networks. That's the case with Comcast's Digital Voice offering, which essentially is an IP network over cable.

Also notable is that one of the earlier problems, and one that continues today, is that IP-based phone systems like Comcast's digital voice require power at the home to work, unlike the POTS system. However, some professional installers, including Comcast, are making sure that their VoIP systems come with a battery backup so that the phone system can work even when power to the home is lost. It was a common complaint two years ago among alarm installers that, even if their alarm system used a battery backup, if the VoIP system didn't use a backup, the signal could not go out.

"Brink's chose to work closely with Comcast because of the key advantages that cable phone offers, including the routing of calls over a managed network, instead of the public Internet," said Shawn Lucht, vice president of business development for Brink's Home Security.

Brink's and Comcast aren't just partnered on technical training. The companies have arranged promotion where Comcast's Digital Voice customers get discounts on Brink's security installations, a free second keypad installed, and can have a free security needs analysis.