|SDM’s Associate Publisher (left), Art Niedosik, joins nearly 100 attendees for Micro Key president and CEO Wayne Torrens’ (right) opening remarks.|
Close to 100 attendees came together at the 18th annual Micro Key Solutions Users Conference, held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Feb. 15-18, 2011. The conference was themed, “Building on the Best.” There certainly was a positive buzz throughout, as users of the company’s Millennium Series™ software learned all about new developments and ways the company is building on its offerings in anticipation of version 32 of Millennium. The conference centered on the 90 new features and 125 enhancements the company developed in the last year, including 90 percent of all enhancements voted on by members at the 2010 conference. The conference offered two educational tracks, one for central station software users and another for accounting users, as well as an open training lab.
The halls of the Rosen hummed in between sessions and after hours as attendees discussed their experiences and appliances of the software at their own companies, offered best practices or simply took the time to catch up with old friends.
Dean Belisle, president of Act Now Alarm, was present at the very first conference in 1994 and has regularly attended nearly every conference since. He, like all attendees SDM spoke with, was impressed with the number of enhancements announced, but especially with how closely the company adhered to suggestions and discussions from the previous year’s conference. This sentiment was shared by many and seemed to further encourage productive discussion during the conference sessions to guide the next set of enhancements.
Wayne Torrens, president and chief executive officer of Micro Key Solutions, observed that customers who attend the conference for the first time will remark on all that they’ve been missing and decide to come back. This year, attendees came from all over the United States and Canada and even a new face from Ireland, Garrett Wall, general manager at Smart Monitoring Limited, who commented he would be back.
“What was really impressive for me,” said Duane Ising, Security Alarm Corporation, “was the fact that the MKS staff members weren’t just standing in the front of the room lecturing us. They were up there with pen and paper listening to and writing down our suggestions as they walked through all the new enhancements. It’s not often that you get to influence how a software company modifies its products. I was truly impressed with their willingness to listen.”
Of all the new features, one stood out as discussions carried over from the sessions: Action Plans, a reimagining of guided response for operators, which has even the Micro Key folks amazed at its power. “It’s better than anyone could have ever imagined. It can be all things for all people, but you need to know how to do it,” Torrens said. “You’re basically writing your own program, develop your own scripting of how you want this done.” The Action Plans feature was developed as it became clear that the handling of alarms continues growing in complexity with elements such as video, audio and call verification, PERS systems, etc.
“The time I was able to spend with customers—and customers with the Micro Key team—is always invaluable, every year. It cements the relationships between our people and their people. When you do business over the phone, it’s just a voice. But when you spend a couple of days with people and get to know them and their business, we have a better opportunity to understand their business and how to ease their pains,” Torrens said.