It’s 10 p.m.: Do You Know Where Your RMR Is?
It is very interesting how media and cultural inputs can affect how we look at our world. After watching the complete series of the “Walking Dead” three times, I am now very zombie-conscious. As I walk the streets of downtown Chicago I have been noticing how many people actually do look like zombies as they shuffle along the sidewalk.
While the various “zombies” walking the north side of the Windy City don’t really concern me, I am reaching a fulcrum point in my parenting career. My daughter is heading to high school in the fall, and she will have to negotiate the Chicago public transit system to get to and from school. Like all parents I am worried about her safety during her travels. How will I know where she is, and if she’s OK?
With the explosion in smartphone usage has come a tidal wave of “apps,” various software packages that can locate the nearest pizza stand, provide a weather report, and perform myriad functions that frankly I don’t care about. However, I am learning I’m in the minority, as millions of these app programs have been downloaded by smartphone users.
Recently I was introduced to the “Linked24” app, which can answer my concerns about my daughter’s location and well-being. This app works on iPhone and Android smartphones, and provides a number of valuable services that can benefit both residential and commercial security clients, while providing an RMR multiplier for the security dealers who provide the service.
The key to Linked24 is proactive GPS location reporting. With this program a user’s smartphone can be programmed to deliver the GPS-derived location of the phone. Now this isn’t new technology; what’s new is that Linked24 provides a simple method of exception-report programming so that parents can be notified if a child hasn’t reached his or her target destination within a programmable time window. So if Junior is supposed to be home at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays, an email alert can be sent to the parent if he hasn’t hit the door within a half hour of the programmed arrive schedule.
By using this program parents can track their children’s locations and only be alerted when the children don’t arrive at or near the programmed time. This can provide peace of mind without generating an email barrage, which soon will be ignored after a couple of weeks of usage. Users can be tracked by their GPS reports along with time stamps, and can be viewed by the parent from any smartphone or Internet-connected device. Alerts can be established if the child goes someplace she isn’t allowed, so fathers can electronically strike the “unworthy of your girl’s attention” evil Jake’s house from their daughter’s “you can visit” location list.
Along with the programmable GPS tracking is a unique “emergency shake” video-recording feature. If the user is in trouble, he or she can simply grab the cell phone, aim the camera at the problem, and shake the smartphone. A video will be automatically recorded and transmitted to the parent, or when used by commercial accounts, the service administrator.
Linked24 is a very unique and important service that can apply equally to families and to commercial accounts. What employer doesn’t want to know where their employees are, and provide them with an emergency video transmitter in case there’s a problem?
The Linked24 program is sold only through security dealers, and not directly to the public. Dealers who sign up for the program and pay the $600 setup fee will receive their own customized Web page and apps, so all of the branding will be “ABC Alarm” not Linked24. This is going to create a surge of “viral” sales, as parents will show the service to their friends, and those friends are going to call your company to get the service.
The really good news about Linked24 is that it provides a vitally needed service for your customers at a very low cost. For residential and small commercial accounts the dealer cost is only $2.50 per month for up to 10 smartphones, while the dealer cost for commercial accounts with up to 100 phones is only $7.50 per month. I believe this service can easily generate $20 to $30 per month in recurring revenue — who doesn’t want to know where their kids are? The beauty of this service is that it can be sold to existing monitored accounts using bill- stuffers and it can be sold to customers who have no alarm system or have purchased their alarm system from one of your competitors. Because this service has nothing to do with central station functions, the potential user/client field is wide open.
This is a killer app for the 21st Century. Get yourself set up with Linked24, get your customized reporting site onto your smartphone, start tracking your family members, and then head to your PTA meeting/church/club and start showing it off. Whether you charge the monthly costs mentioned above, or toss the service into a package that includes a home security system, either way you are giving your clients peace of mind about their family members’ whereabouts.
David Engebretson is the president of Slayton Solutions Ltd., Chicago, providing online and instructor-led training on fiber optics and networking electronic security systems. His latest book, Technician’s Guide to Physical Security Networking: Enterprise Solutions is a fully illustrated manual describing high-end IP physical security applications. Visit www.slaytonsolutionsltd.com for ordering information.
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