Adding Valuable Services
Customer relationships, business acumen help meet growth challenges
- By Richard Rot
- Mar 01, 2011
For years, customers have relied on the expertise and knowledge of
their security providers to meet the constantly changing demands
of providing safety and security to their businesses and homes.
The industry’s advances in technology have never been as influential,
beneficial and challenging to customers as they are today.
For security providers to stay as viable and productive as they have in the past,
they must continue to leverage these developments into value-added services
that benefit customers.
New technologies give security providers a great opportunity to bring additional
value to their customers in the form of new services that increase
security for the customer and revenue for the security provider. The new area
of verified response has sprung up in response to the need for more reliable
security industry dispatch for both customers and law enforcement agencies.
False alarms continue to plague most of the industry, resulting in low-priority
alarm response to security providers who have not yet sought to verify their
By taking advantage of proven and emerging technology, security providers
can offer alarm verification as an enhanced or value-added service for
their customers. The two premier verification technologies are audio alarm
verification and video alarm verification.
For years, audio verification has verified that there are intruders at a customer’s
protected premise. The use of listen-in, two-way and impact-activated audio
has allowed many security dealers and their central stations to effectively
reduce the number of false dispatches and increase the priority agencies put
on their alarm. An advanced form of audio technology, “impact-activated
audio verification,” has allowed exclusive security dealers not only to reduce
false alarms but to successfully apprehend would-be burglars and prevent
customers from suffering a loss.
Impact-activated audio is a patented Sonitrol technology that has helped
Sonitrol security providers capture more than 164,000 intruders since 1977.
These customer benefits also provide dealers higher revenue for their services while creating a stronger relationship with customers.
Historically, audio verification technology has been used successfully in
just about every type of business, including banks, retail outlets, restaurants
and schools. A large school system in Florida has relied on audio verification
for more than 20 years. Over that time, audio verification has helped the system
capture everything from students pulling harmless pranks to intruders
attempting serious vandalism and theft.
When customers hear how impact-activated audio increases capture of offenders
and results in reduced crime, they are thankful that they opted for the
more-robust impact-activated audio over the less-expensive traditional security.
Audio technology continues to be a preferred method of verification, but
the recent developments in video surveillance have opened up another affordable
technology in the war on crime. Videofied is providing customers unique
video and wireless products combined with enhanced video services. Videofied’s
MotionViewer is at the heart of the company’s offering; it combines a
camera, motion-PIR and illuminators in a battery-powered device the size of
a coffee cup.
Catching the Intruder
When an intruder trips the MotionViewer,
the camera sends a 10-second clip of
the alarm over the cell network to the
alarm monitoring center for immediate
review and potential dispatch. This technology
builds on the security concept
that apprehensions are an effective deterrent
As with audio verification, police give
video verification a higher priority because
they know the alarm is real, intruders are present and the likelihood of
apprehension is high. Stanley Convergent Security Solutions has taken the
Videofied solution to the next level by fully integrating the advanced video
technology with its online eServices tool. Stanley not only is able to provide
video verification to its customers, but it also allows the customer to view the
alarm video clips online 24/7, thus providing greater protection for the customer
and enhanced revenue for Stanley. The focus on verified response has
made its offering more law enforcement-friendly and is paying off for customers
in higher priority alarm response.
Another way security product manufacturers can increase dealers’ revenue
while providing more benefit to customers is by bundling all associated
operational requirements. For example, wireless intrusion alarm does not require
traditional phone lines or power to any device in the system, including
the panel. This is a good technology solution for protecting remote facilities,
construction sites or signal towers, where having or securing phone lines can
be a challenge.
Security dealers wanting to provide complete services to their customers can
establish a relationship with a wireless carrier so customers receive a one-stop
shop, rather than having to contract with multiple vendors for their security
protection. Customers love bundled services, whether it’s their security system,
telecom or entertainment, because it is much easier to deal with one company.
Back when Stanley installed its first Videofied system, its customer had its
first apprehension within a week. The video clips of the apprehension were
made available to law enforcement for use during prosecution. The clip also is
a powerful reminder to customers of the tangible service they are getting from
their security provider, which had bundled all related security services together.
Another area where security providers can enhance their service and offerings,
thus increasing business with their customers, is remote and managed
services. Today, customers and their businesses face the challenge of doing
more with less. Security providers who can perform key administrative and
operational tasks for customers transform themselves from service providers
to service partners.
Using new video surveillance technology that allows administrative and operational
tasks to be performed remotely has resulted in an array of enhanced
video support services. Three proven and emerging services include video system
health check, video image quality check and video incident retrieval.
With video system health check, a security provider can remotely connect
to a customer’s video system to perform daily, weekly or monthly system operational
checks. Everything from checking the communication link, system
functionality, camera operation and software upgrades can be verified, and
the security provider can perform necessary correction taken by the security
provider as needed. The security provider is ensuring the customer’s video
system is operating at optimum levels at all times, without any involvement
from the customer.
The service of video image quality check takes
that health check to the next level. The security
provider remotely provides diagnostics of the
quality of the images being captured, including
field of view and 24-hour image consistency. By
remotely verifying and correcting image quality,
the security provider is guaranteeing customers
see exactly what they want to see, without the
customers having lifted a finger.
Another service allowing customers to focus
on their own business while the security
dealer takes care of their video system is video
incident retrieval as a service. With video incident retrieval, the security dealer
remotely accesses the customer’s video system to retrieve video associated
with any incident requested by the customer.
Banking customers, who have a high number of incidents such as check
fraud, suspicious activity and robbery, often have too many incidents per day
to handle effectively themselves. Thus, a security dealer providing this service
for its customers saves them time while increasing their overall business.
Whether a security provider is adding enhanced services such as video alarm
verification, audio alarm verification or remote managed services, the key to
success is being able to provide all of these services at a higher quality level,
at a lower cost level and faster than customers can do it themselves. This is
no easy task for the average security provider. This is why average security
providers tend to fall into the trap of providing basic service, which the customer
views as a commodity and is unwilling to pay more than the lowest
amount for. The inverse is true about the best-in-class security providers who
make investments in technology, infrastructure, training of their people and
the partnership with their customers.
These security leaders first establish their business relationships with customers,
prove themselves with outstanding service and then continue to invest
and expand in enhanced products and services, which will benefit the
customers’ security and business.
These are exciting times for security dealers. Those who continue to innovate
and use the advancements in technology will find themselves poised
to meet the market demand and thrive.
This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of Security Today.