Monitoring security and fire systems and the recurring monthly revenue (RMR) that comes with it will always be fundamentally important. But today’s industry has evolved to provide end users more options beyond basic monitoring — everything from interactive services and new apps to managed services and event-driven video monitoring. In this article, SDM examines the new technologies and services central stations are adding to open additional RMR opportunities for dealers.

“At Dynamark, we recognize that in order for dealers to succeed, they need to be able to offer all of these new services, and we need to be in a position to make that possible. That has led us to make sure we deploy as much technology as we can to give our dealers the options they need,” shares Tom Piston, vice president, Sales and Marketing, Dynamark Security Centers, Hagerstown, Md.

Without good scalable solutions dealers will have a hard time staying current, says Morgan Hertel, vice president of Operations, Rapid Response Monitoring Services (RRMS), based in Syracuse, N.Y. “It’s important that the central station be the dealer’s partner in developing and supporting the latest technologies that provide them with additional RMR opportunities,” Hertel says.

“Operating as partner to its dealers, EMERgency24, Des Plaines, Ill., gears its investment in technology, people and services to help dealers convert prospects and retain subscribers,” says Patrick Devereaux, senior vice president, EMERgency24. “How the central station performs [and what it offers] reflects directly on the dealer’s company brand and its ability to maintain and increase its RMR,” he adds.

Kenneth Volkening, president of Fox Valley Fire and Safety, Elgin, Ill., an EMERgency24 dealer, tells SDM increasing RMR was a major focus when the current ownership at Fox Valley Fire and Safety purchased the company.

“Fox Valley Fire and Safety had been a sales-driven company from its inception until the time that we purchased it, and while we still are a sales-driven company, we recognize that a big part of our success relies on our ability to increase our RMR. Every month the first thing we look at as we analyze our production and our financial statements is what is the RMR component? It is that important to us because we know that it is our life blood,” Volkening describes. Today, RMR comprises 58 percent of the company’s revenue, and it strives to grow RMR by approximately 10 percent every year.

“The only partner that we have in the whole cycle of selling and providing services to our customers is on the monitoring side, so we need a company that has a philosophy that matches ours and enables us to grow our RMR,” Volkening says.

 To increase RMR offerings for its dealers, Fox Valley Fire and Safety’s monitoring provider, EMERgency24, has an in-house technical team to build out new services. 

“Because we have a full-time, in-house staff of engineers and software developers, we tell our dealers that if there is a system or sensor, we can monitor it. This gives them the ability to seek out new types of customers, which gives them more opportunity to develop RMR streams,” says EMERgency24 senior vice president, Patrick Devereaux.

The company has invested heavily in alternative communications media including several different types of IP receivers, as well as radio technologies, and third-party wireless communications services; developed unique monitoring services for verticals such as agriculture, manufacturing, waste management and petro-chemical operations; and developed a smartphone-friendly website for video accounts that includes more functionality. But the biggest new service EMERgency24 is excited about, like many other central stations and dealers SDM spoke with, is video.

“Our goal is to make video alarm systems the norm rather than the exception,” explained Devereaux. “In 10 years, we believe a video system will be much more valuable compared to a traditional blind system. EMERgency 24 is investing in additional capabilities in the video monitoring and services vertical because we believe our investment now will enable our dealers to be more successful in the future. Technology has evolved. Video will be king,” he predicts.

Remote video monitoring is the biggest opportunity that provides RMR says Kristin Hebert, dealer relations, Acadian Monitoring Services LLC, Lafayette, La. Acadian’s video monitoring business has grown significantly since its inception in 2007. “More dealers are recognizing the benefits of video monitoring and adding it to their service offerings,” he says.

This includes Acadian dealer, Oberlander Alarm Systems. The company’s business model contains RMR-based services, and it’s ready to tackle video. Monitoring, service and even low or no-money-down leased systems are included in the business plan for the Peoria, Ill.-based company, and its “next adventure will most likely be in hosted video and access control,” predicts Stephen Kuster, vice president, Oberlander Alarm Systems. “These concepts we think will help with those that don’t have the upfront capital for investment but can afford monthly payments,” he describes.

SecureWatch 24 (SW24) Security, New York, is experiencing a growing interest in video services. “It is still catching on, but I believe more and more dealers are waking up to the fact that they can see bigger RMR monthly payments from their customers by selling video intrusion verification up front. The biggest hurdle is still training— central stations have to be willing to work with dealers to train sales organizations not to be afraid of video technologies,” explains Jay Stuck, executive vice president, SecureWatch 24.

Stuck believes the average dealer can charge residential customers an additional 20 percent or more and can charge commercial customers 40 percent or more for video services over basic intrusion monitoring. “Don’t be afraid to charge your customers for the additional response capabilities and convenience that come with video verification and other video services. The future is video, plain and simple,” he advises.


Interactive Services

The biggest current opportunity for dealers to increase their RMR is by offering interactive services to either existing or new accounts, says Mike Zydor, managing director, Affiliated Monitoring, Union, N.J.

“This channel has seen tremendous growth as the customers’ appetite for instant, remote connectivity to their security systems and home automation platform increases,” Zydor says. The interactivity enabled by apps is a huge draw for end users and an equally huge opportunity for dealers.

Dimitri Begeor, director of Dealer Development, Central Station Monitoring, Estacada, Ore., says his company has added DSC Connect 24, Total Connect, and any interactive apps that are requested by its dealers. Apps for cellular and Internet are key future RMR opportunities because phone lines are going away, he adds.

So many types of RMR, from temperature monitoring to sump pump monitoring, are possible just by monitoring the right sensor in the right place. This is opening new opportunities for dealers to take advantage of with new and existing customers.

“If it has a contact closure, chances are we can monitor it and provide fast, efficient, and professional response with flexible notification options,” says C.O.P.S. Monitoring, Williamstown, N.J., which offers custom monitoring to dealers. Some examples of the environments and processes the company monitors are: elevator emergency phones, blood banks cooling/storage systems, food storage cooling/storage systems, waste water pump systems, boiler temperature supervision, fish and poultry farm environment monitoring.

In short, there’s dramatic expansion beyond the security system. In 10 years, the idea that a central station will be providing just basic security system monitoring will be considered “quaint,” Stuck predicts. “The Internet of Things will change everything. Google already sees this. The rest of the industry should as well,” he says.

Dealers can get as creative with security and fire systems as they want to be, Volkening says. “I was talking to somebody recently who wanted to know if we offered sub pump monitoring. It was nice to be able to say, ‘Yes, we do,’” Volkening recalls. He also recently had a school district ask if his company could monitor defibrillators. Management wanted to be notified if someone opened the case to get the defibrillator out. Today the signal comes in to EMERgency24 and the operator can call in to the premises and ask about the signal.

“Maybe they don’t have a medical situation and someone is messing with the defibrillator, but it at least gives the end user a chance to go and check it out and determine if they have a medical issue or not,” Volkening says. “RMR comes in from various ways, you can’t predict sometimes. The other thing is you have to do is promote it. You don’t want to just sit down there and wait for the phone to ring for someone to ask you what services you are providing. You have to be thinking about what has changed and how you can provide more services for your customers because that separates you from your competition,” he advises.

Couple a dealer’s proactive awareness and selling with a monitoring company that is able to accommodate end users’ requests, no matter how unique or cutting-edge, and you have a winning combination that results in either gaining new accounts or adding on valuable RMR dollars to existing accounts. That’s upgraded RMR at its finest.


RMR Opportunity


Zone Monitoring

NMC provides a service called Zone Restoral Tracking that can be used to track whether or not a zone has been restored. With this service, if a zone fails to restore, NMC will notify the subscriber so that immediate action can be taken. This is especially powerful for use on fire systems, hold-up buttons and environmental/temperature sensor systems. “This add-on service can be a good revenue source for dealers,” according to the company.



SDM asked: ‘What is the biggest monitoring opportunity you offer that provides RMR and why?’

PERS fulfillment is the newest service line to be introduced by Acadian. PERS fulfillment allows PERS dealers to focus on the sales and billing sides of the business. Acadian performs all other tasks for the dealer such as tech support, shipping and inventory, contract mailings, etc. “Acadian also partners with funding agencies that can assist a dealer with funding or equipment financing,” describes Kristin Hebert, Acadian Monitoring Services. For information, visit Stay tuned for SDM’s article on new PERS opportunities in the July issue of SDM.



SDM asked: ‘What is the biggest monitoring opportunity you offer that provides RMR and why?’

“What is perceived by the subscriber as state-of-the-art today? Video! For the dealer that means easier prospect conversions, easier wireless installations, improved mobility that leads to longer account retention, and competitive price points,” says EMERgency24’s Patrick Devereaux.

EMERgency24’s new video alarm program optimizes a dealer’s cash flow by providing free Videofied wireless systems and paying the dealer for the installation and value of the subscriber agreement once it is signed and commissioned. When dealers install a “base system,” they receive $675 for a 36-month agreement and another $700 each time the subscriber renews. 

With no real out-of-pocket expense, dealers can add staff to install and cover costs. In fact, selling just one system a week generates $36,000 in annual revenue. Over five years — including cash from renewals — that’s more than $250,000 in revenue, Devereaux describes. For information, visit


Mobile Monitoring

American Two-Way (ATW), North Hollywood, Calif, a wholesale monitoring company, is offering a mobile monitoring solution called TotalTrack. This platform enables dealers to immediately enter the mobile monitoring industry, allowing them to obtain multiple subscribers per household or business as this complete mobile platform/service enables dealers to offer mobile PERS, mobile child protection, vehicle tracking/crash detection, as well as business solutions like fleet management and lone worker protection. All these services are tracked, bread crumbed and geo-fenced through one user friendly portal, Dealers can offer to protect the whole family with mobile monitoring services including children, grandparents, teenager drivers and more, or business with fleet management, lone worker and asset tracking. The TotalTrack platform pulls the GPS out of any cell phone—turning it into an mPers device without using an app—on any network or triangulates it if no GPS is available. This type of service is ideal for college students or adults that don’t want to carry two devices. With more than 400,000,000 cell phones in use in America, this is an amazing opportunity for dealers, ATW says. For information, visit or


Information-Driven Interactive Services

SDM asked: ‘What is the biggest monitoring opportunity you offer that provides RMR and why?’

“We see interactive services leading the way. When a dealer adds interactivity to the mix, they create a system that the customer will use on a daily basis. Whether it’s getting the text message that the kids just home, finding out if the pet sitter actually showed up to feed the cats, or utilizing the link to the thermostats, it makes the system more than something that protects against ‘bad things.’ It provides information that really does provide peace of mind. This is something that customers see real value in, and they will pay more money for it.” — Tom Piston, Dynamark


Mobility, Automation, and Video

SDM asked: ‘What is the biggest monitoring opportunity you offer that provides RMR and why?’

“There are three areas to focus on:

  1. Mobility — Everything is going mobile. Not only are the services going mobile such as mPers and asset tracking, but the interfaces to them are also going mobile, everything is going to be on an app. All of the command and control as well as interactivity with subscribers is going to be a key part of the future of monitoring.
  2. Comfort and Automation — The alarm industry is quickly embracing the home automation advances that will continue to develop “sticky” customers and well as generate more RMR.
  3. Video Verification — As municipalities continue to be stressed financially, having ways to help law enforcement understand what’s going on in the field will help them not only keep costs in line but also place resources where they’re needed the most.” — Morgan Hertel, Rapid Response Monitoring Services


Enhanced Video, Cellular, and PERS

SDM asked: ‘What is the biggest monitoring opportunity you offer that provides RMR and why?’

“There are three major opportunities Affiliated Monitoring is focused on opening up for dealers:

  1. Affiliated Monitoring’s InView® Video Verification platform allows dealers to offer enhanced video services at an affordable price point.  With InView, the dealer marries their security system and video system to offer the customer video alerts along with standard alarm notifications. Affiliated additionally provides a dealer branded portal which gives customers live view access and event clips from any internet connected device.
  2. Affiliated’s Cellular / Account Monitoring packages are a response to the reality that one million POTS lines are being disconnected per month throughout the United States and the 2G cellular network is in the process of being shut down. These packages combine account monitoring and cellular service into one affordable price and help dealers’ future proof both new installations and existing customers in this evolving environment.
  3. Affiliated Monitoring’s PERS program provides a simple entry for alarm professionals into the rapidly expanding life safety market for at-risk seniors. Affiliated provides a single source solution for both the equipment and monitoring services needed to develop this demographic opportunity.” — Mike Zydor, Affiliated Monitoring