Central stations today are doing so much more than just monitoring for alarms, as the emergence and integration of video surveillance systems with security, access control, fire and HVAC systems allows an alarm company, for example, to offer a full suite of monitoring options and ROI for their customers, while increasing their potential RMR.
Alarm companies today need to work with a monitoring company that in addition to offering a comprehensive menu of monitoring options, can also support the video surveillance needs of the many businesses looking into the options available today for not only security, but also for access control, business intelligence, lowering false alarms, operational efficiencies, preventive maintenance—the list goes on and on.
These businesses don’t want to deal with two, three and four companies to provide all of these services, so an alarm company that can provide additional video monitoring services to alarm and other services will stand out and be able to differentiate itself from the competition.
The following is a look at some of the costs associated with, and factors to consider when offering video surveillance monitoring for your customers, as well as the many benefits from offering these options.
One of the nice things that has happened within security over the past few years is the move toward integrating all systems within a building or business, as opposed to having all of these systems function in their own silos and not communicate with each other.
And with everything going IP, most notably cameras and video surveillance systems, everything is communicating back to the network, which enables business owners to realize some real building efficiencies, be more predictive with maintenance and operational, in addition to improving security, lowering false alarms, minimizing truck rolls for the dealers, etc.
One of the great advances in security today is the emergence of video verification, which essentially is the pairing video with any other system or area in your building that sends the clips to the central station, DVR or cloud storage. Much of this push toward video surveillance within security is fueled by the decrease in cost of cameras combined with increases in resolution capabilities, picture quality, and zooming capability. This evolution is allowing small businesses, for example, that may not have considered video surveillance in the past, to be able to now take advantage of having cameras on site.
In addition to some of the cool things alarm dealers and business owners can do with this video technology, the police and first responders love it because it is helping lower false alarms, which are such a big problem that states, including Virginia, are imposing fines on businesses, and homeowners, who are repeat offenders.
RMR and ROI
As an alarm dealer, while you are adding slightly to your overall monitoring costs by offering monitoring of video surveillance systems, it is critically important to understand all of the new and increased revenue options that are opened up by doing so, in addition to the ROI for your customers, which we will return to shortly.
First and foremost, as a dealer, having the ability to verify in real time what is going on with your customers is essentially important, as it minimizes the need for truck rolls almost entirely, and we all know that the majority of truck rolls are oftentimes for things that could have been troubleshooted remotely. This is an immediate and tangible cost savings.
Next, as a dealer, you can now begin to offer services to your customers that provide a real return on investment, such as business intelligence, operational efficiencies, predictive maintenance, etc., but more on this next.
As a security dealer, you are selling much more than just security today, and it is important to be able to convey the business intelligence and operational efficiencies that can be had when a business installs video surveillance systems and integrates it with other systems, such as fire, security and HVAC. For example, video analytics can be employed at a business to better understand customer buying patterns, traffic flow, in addition to getting a better handle on theft and shrink, which are unavoidable but manageable in a retail setting.
In addition to the ROI that can be achieved through business intelligence, a business owner can also better manage employees, including using technology such as facial recognition for entrance into highly secure areas or areas with expensive inventory, for example. These are great selling tools for a dealer, and really is a win-win-win for all involved—the dealer, the monitoring company and the end user/customer.
Another area that increases RMR opportunities for dealers is the storing of data, specifically video footage for businesses or organizations, for example, such as government or military, where video footage must be saved for certain periods of time. For example, most businesses in Virginia want to save footage for up to two years, as the stature of limitations for personal injury or accident liability case is two years in Virginia.
And with the compression technology that is available today, in addition to DVR and cloud storage options, or a combination of both, dealers can offer their customers scalable options that fit into their budgets, while increasing their RMR.
In addition to advances in compression algorithms, we now have the ability to only send certain clips to the cloud and/or central station, such as when activity has been detected, removing up to 90 percent of static footage that just eats up memory and bandwidth, which can be an issue for many.
Weighing the Costs
As a dealer starting out and partnering with a monitoring company, it is important to factor in all of the RMR opportunities that are opened up by offering video surveillance monitoring to your customers, as well as all of the ROI and added value you can provide to your customers when discussing security and monitoring costs.
It is important to work closely with a monitoring company that can not only provide all of the services mentioned above, but that also aligns with your company culture, has a proven track record, and is willing to work with you. For example, there are discounts for dealers who surpass certain customer or dollar thresholds, which you can discuss further with a local monitoring company.
In conclusion, dealers today need to be able to offer video surveillance solutions as part of an overall systems integration strategy that will lead to better ROI for customers and more RMR opportunities as an alarm company.