SentryNet president David Avritt shakes hands with attendees after the last day’s continuing education courses.
This year’s SentryNet dealer conference and cruise was held on board the Carnival Elation, an 855-foot long cruise ship sailing from its home port in Mobile, Ala. to sunny Cozumel in Mexico April 28 to May 2. As the exclusive media sponsor for the conference, SDM was present to report on the event and continuing education classes, talk to dealers, pick up on upcoming trends in the monitoring space and learn company news.
Amid a healthy portion of fun in the sun and a memorable day spent in Cozumel, attendees had the chance to attend classes and earn CEUs. Kicking off the conference, SentryNet president David Avritt — the captain of the SentryNet ship — provided some opening remarks and announced next year’s conference will go back to its very roots, as it will be held in Memphis, Tenn., where the first SentryNet dealer conference took place 16 years ago.
Vice president of operations Michael Joseph gave an update on what’s new and upcoming from SentryNet, you can watch a video of his presentation on SDM’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/SDMmagazine. Among the highlights, the company was getting ready to release version 3 of NetConnect, its web portal to customer accounts. New features were incorporated from dealer feedback and include: enhanced security with captcha challenge login, mouse over drop down menus, a bug and enhancement request section, scheduled reports with download or email options, customizable access levels, dealer branding on all pages, among many others. SentryNet also recently added new IP receivers to both central stations so they can receive Firelite IP.
The relaxed atmosphere of the cruise combined with attendees' enthusiasm to catch up with their peers and their businesses led to remarkable discussions during the education sessions and the dinner tables alike. Dealers exchanged stories and tips ranging from the challenges and importance of finding trustworthy employees to technology game changers.
One hot button topic was alarm verification and its development into different areas with video and audio verification. The importance of becoming familiar with non-response ordinances that affect dealer's ability to sell effective security systems was highlighted. In addition to staying up to date with legislation and available verification technologies, building relationships with law enforcement was also something dealers agreed is necessary in the security industry today.
Other recurring discussions centered on IP platforms, wireless communications and the increasing popularity of mobile apps.
“I think as you all know, our industry is moving away from POTs lines and we're moving in a lot of different directions,” Joseph said on the first day of education sessions. “Some of which come over IP, some come over cellular.” These new technologies were explored during sessions led by SentryNet's vendor partners present at the conference. In addition, they hosted demonstrations during a mini trade show and reception on Sunday evening.
Look for additional coverage of the SentryNet dealer conference and cruise in the Insider News & Business section of the July issue of SDM.