As monitoring companies take advantage of new video technology and grow their businesses to include video monitoring services, it is important to understand that there is a significant difference between installing a video system and a monitoring-ready video system. This difference is a perception-buster for your customer base, as most people believe that if there are cameras in place, they are burglar-proof.
The Pain Points
For one landscaping company in Northern Virginia, their video system did not help them when burglars broke into their secured yard, destroyed all the perimeter cameras, and proceeded to pack $400,000 worth of landscaping equipment such as various sizes of lawn mowers, weed whackers, leaf blowers and other related equipment into the back of a stolen truck. Because of pandemic-related supply chain delays causing product scarcity, these items were hot commodities. Often without identifying markers, companies who rely on small machinery have been targeted. Thieves are also going after catalytic converters in video-protected secure car lots, leaving behind business owners wondering why their video systems let them down.
It is our responsibility in the professional monitoring industry to be very clear with our customers that a video system is not the same as a monitoring-ready video system. Changing our mindset as we build our businesses to offer monitoring-ready systems will not only improve customer relationships but improve our reputation as an industry.
Why Know the Difference?
When we think of video systems, we imagine a one-time installation with cameras, a network video recorder (NVR), and possibly a video display wall. You may also offer a maintenance plan but receive no additional RMR. Under this scenario, after you have installed the video system, the installer typically has very little interaction with the customer.
If we change the mindset and think in terms of a video system that can be monitored just like an alarm system, it opens new possibilities and opportunities. Video systems can be a complete security system that can detect and provide the opportunity to respond to threats in a proactive fashion.
"It is our responsibility in the professional monitoring industry to be very clear with our customers that a video system is not the same as a monitoring-ready video system."
According to MarketsandMarkets, the video surveillance market is projected to grow from $42.9 billion in 2021 to $69.1 billion by 2026; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10 percent from 2021 to 2026.
A Different Positioning
The first step in changing the mindset is to think in terms of selling the services rather than just a product. There is so much more to offer than just a video display wall where the monitoring center must continually watch and wait for an event to happen. Thanks to today’s artificial intelligence (AI) and video analytics, monitoring centers and installers can recommend new interactive video services by being able to monitor a multitude of event types. You can differentiate your business from the competitors by offering value-added video monitoring solutions.
Today’s Challenges Inside the Monitoring Center
So why should the customer care? They have already purchased the equipment, and as far as they are aware, it is working. But there are several things to consider as a security provider:
- A guard watching multiple cameras can easily miss an event; and in the end with recording 24/7, there is an overload of video.
- Updating the system can be costly — which could include equipment, guards and an IT person.
- Many customers are not aware and have not been told of the options and possibilities. Without knowing, how can they make the right decisions for themselves?
Today, thanks to AI, video analytics and new technology, we now can recommend new and innovative interactive video services. Different services include remote guarding (video detection and response, video guard patrols, etc.), remote doorman, advanced video verification, video supervision or assist, and others.
Just as with an alarm system, communication can be to the monitoring center and/or to the customer. These services not only provide better security and cost savings but also better business management.
The list of AI and video analytics companies is growing at a rapid rate. Video analytics services now include people-counting, loitering, object detection, crowd detection, restricted parking, behavior analytics and much more. In addition, the option of video archiving in the cloud has further added benefits.
Preparing Your Sales & Installation Teams
With a different mindset and new services comes the need for enhanced planning.
The process should no longer be simply installing cameras and then moving on to the next installation. Part of the sales process is to engage with the customer. Once monitoring centers and installers understand the pain points of the customer and the challenges they are facing, they can develop and design a system to provide the services the customer needs. When that service need is identified, the proper equipment, installation and configuration (including placement, types of analytics, etc.) help make it successful.
Looking at the bigger picture, the ecosystem includes the customer site, security devices in place, communication systems and the monitoring center. Additional elements to take into consideration are other devices that may be integrated with video, including access control, intrusion, fire and others; as well as considering where to send the communication when processing the signals/triggers — to the monitoring center, to the customer, etc.
Finally, consider where the video is stored: on-site, in the cloud or a combination of the two.
It begins in our own industry. Installers and monitoring centers need to understand today’s video monitoring possibilities — what it means to them long term and for their customers. This includes creating procedures for video monitoring and training — both the sales and operational aspects. Once they have a comprehensive understanding, they can now educate their customers and offer these new interactive services.
Start out by keeping it simple — scalability is the secret sauce. There are limitless add-on services. Become the customers’ partner, not just a vendor.