Searching the Horizon
Dealers, integrators should address change of 2G network
- By Ginger Hill
- Jan 01, 2015
As the time nears on the shutdown of the second-generation, or
2G, wireless network, now is the time for security dealers and integrators
to not only start planning for this massive migration but
also begin searching for opportunities to make this change easier
for themselves as well as their clients. The 2G shutdown isn’t occurring all at
once and has just started appearing sporadically across service areas; however,
instead of waiting until January 1, 2017 to address this change, as by this day,
2G will be completely harvested out, security integrators and dealers should
The ending of 2G has been met with mixed emotions, with some referring
to it as “the death of 2G,” but instead of viewing this migration as negative,
view it as a positive way to enhance services for your clients by offering new
technology that enhances their security.
The Setting Sun
As the story goes, AT&T and Verizon have announced plans to discontinue
2G service, naming the last day as Dec. 31, 2016. This means that those with
older security system models will need to update or replace their systems to
be compliant with 3G and 4G requirements so as not to lose their security.
This phase out and eventual harvesting of 2G comes as a response in part to
the skyrocketing use of smartphones as well as 3G and 4G being faster, more
reliable and offering higher-quality connections, pushing 2G, which was developed
post analog, to be considered outdated.
“By cell carriers shutting down their 2G, or discontinuing their 2nd Generation
networks, telephone carriers can dramatically increase data capacity
and better serve the needs of their lucrative smartphone and smart device and
tablet customers,” said Judy Jones-Shand, the vice president of marketing at
NAPCO Technologies Inc.
Currently, the majority of home security system technologies’ radios use
a 2G network, but with this discontinuation occurring in about 2 years, most
systems will have to be replaced or upgraded to help extend the operations
that they perform today. So, now is the security dealer/integrator’s chance to
be the hero and come to the rescue by educating their clients, letting them
know what 2G means to them: less reliable connections and slower speeds
for 2G network-enabled devices, in addition to the enhancements 3G and 4G
provides for their safety and security.
“3G/4G network radios ensure uninterrupted alarm service, so consumers
will continue to enjoy the peace-of-mind they pay dealers for, like knowing
in an emergency their alarm system will send a report and get through to the
appropriate authorities to get help,” Jones-Shand said.
Those looking to buy a new security system should not purchase a system
that relies on a 2G network, instead opting for one that runs on 3G and 4G to
ensure longer life of the system. This means that you, the security dealer and
integrator, must be able to offer new clients advanced technology and for established
clients, technology that will enable you to easily upgrade their system.
“Proactive security dealers who want to safeguard their customers and
their accounts from disruption are working now to transition them over to
the newer cellular networks, which requires a change of cellular alarm communicator,”
Time to Harvest
Since now is the time to react to the 2G sunset, the following steps offer a
guide to help dealers and integrators get on track:
- Create an action plan. The last thing security
dealers and integrators will want to deal with
is a barrage of customers demanding an upgrade
at the last minute. Your time is valuable, so plan
accordingly. Focus on extreme customer service to
new and existing clients to help prevent unsatisfied
customers, who often express their dissatisfaction
to others, which could lead to ruining your reputation
as a knowledgeable dealer/integrator.
- No more 2G installations. From this day
forward, do not install security systems that operate
solely on 2G networking. This is setting your
customers up for failure as in the near future, they
would be forced to upgrade. Talk about lack of customer
service and upset customers!
- Determine how many customers will need
an upgrade. Assess your customer base to determine
who needs an upgrade. This will help you
schedule your time effectively and efficiently.
3. Educate the customer. Consider sending
out direct mail or calling customers who are affected.
Let them know that 3G airtime is in fact
less expensive than 2G-based solutions so less is
needed to accomplish the same set of tasks. Make
sure customers know not to wait until the last minute
to upgrade as 2G network providers are progressively
working to free up the spectrum before
the deadline date, which could force some territories
to sunset even sooner than 2017.
- Determine the best technology from the
best manufacturer for your business. In other
words, do your homework so that you can offer
your customers “the best” during their upgrade.
A number of manufacturers within the security
industry have already responded to the rise of
3G and 4G by creating products and solutions to
help integrators and dealers achieve success with
their new and established customer base. As we all
know, security is just too important to risk.
Shedding New Light: A Rising Sun
Touted as an “ideal 2G sunset solution,” StarLink3
Radio by NAPCO future-proofs alarm systems
by taking the place of or backing-up failed phone
lines to communicate alarm system signals to an
alarm monitoring station, ensuring that authorities
are dispatched quickly and effectively at times
of emergency. StarLink3 transmits the security
system’s high-priority signals wirelessly and/or
digitally. It can also work on any alarm system affordably
and reliably as it has been field-proven to
function virtually anywhere in the United States,
reporting to any central station.
With a touch of innovation in giving people
what they have come to expect, NAPCO has configured
an app that works directly with StarLink3.
Users can arm and disarm any panel brand with
keyswitch input via the app as well as receive email
or text message updates.
As far as installation is concerned, simply enter
a radio ID and the Dialer Capture feature does the
rest so dealers and integrators don’t have to worry
about certain programming formats or entering
phone numbers or account numbers. This feature
also captures any panel’s existing central station
phone number, allowing rerouting to another central
station without going directly to the panel.
“Dealers tell us it’s [Starlink3 Radio] the easiest
to use, install and activate,” said Jones.
What’s more, NAPCO is offering an incentive
program to all dealers and integrators to help them
safeguard their accounts. Dealers purchase a Star-
Link 3G or 4G Radio for $99.95 and then register
and activate the new radio. Remove the old radio
and send its 2G SIM card to NAPCO. In turn,
NAPCO will credit the dealer’s account with $50.
This makes the net cost under $50 for dealers, with
a limited subscriber service of $5.95 per month.
“This is almost certainly the least expensive solution
to protect dealers’ accounts on the market,
and there’s no limit on the radios traded-up either,”
In addition, Napco has more StarLink models
in the works.
“We have new CDMA models for Verizon networks
and red, fire-compliant cellular models,
too,” said Jones.
Jones has seen dealers have taken on a couple of
strategies to keep their accounts during this transition.
Some offer the StarLink radio for free with
a modest installation charge while others offer a
discounted upgrade cost and a free App for consumers
with smartphones. This provides remote
control of their security systems.
While it seems that all good things must come
to an end, it’s the ending of “good” things that lays
the path to “greater” things.
This article originally appeared in the issue of .
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.