Affiliated Monitoring, Union, N.J., knows how to bring the fun in the sun. Celebrating their 40th anniversary and kicking off summer this past week, the second annual Catalyst Conference was held in Adventura, Fla., at the Turnberry Isle Resort & Hotel May 15-17. The day-and-a-half long conference focused on sales and marketing techniques for dealers within the PERS industry, as well as providing a healthy amount of time for attendees to relax, network and enjoy all that south Florida has to offer.

More than 200 people from eight countries and 35 states descended on the resort the first day for some golf and the option to network and sample various food trucks from the local Miami culinary scene. Guests chose full meals from an array of foods such as gourmet grilled cheese, Italian sandwiches, seafood favorites — such as the New England Lobster Roll, and shaved ice cream or “ice cream with a fork.”

The following morning, Daniel Oppenheim opened by welcoming the guests and speaking about the state of the PERS Industry: “We have a lot of forces in our society right now that are making PERS as it exists today, and as it will evolve, a critical, critical part of our healthcare system. And it is something that is going to be a part of the world for a long time to come. It’s still very immature in the United States as opposed to other countries; in fact, we have many people in this room that come from some European countries where the PERS market is much more developed,” he said. 

Some other facts that surprised many in the audience were that there is four times the growth of mobile PERS versus in-home PERS; the average age of a PERS signee is 81, while the average age of a mobile PERS signee is 78; and that 90 percent of button presses are for peace of mind with 53 percent of mobile button presses happening in the home. 

Dealers and manufacturers then had the opportunity to listen to Peter Koeppel, founder and president, Koeppel Direct, share his industry knowledge in DRTV, or direct response television. Listeners learned the best ways to break through the clutter to market their products through TV ads, when the best time of day is to show these ads, as well as the best 800 numbers for seniors to remember (repeating ones — i.e., 800-525-2525 — in case you were curious). 

Perhaps the biggest treat of the day though was the Thought Leader Discussion on the Future of PERS. This consisted of a panel Q-and-A lead by Daniel Oppenheim featuring John Carpenter, vice president of channel engagement, Nortek Security & Control; Scot McGehee, vice president of sales and marketing, Climax; Yaniv Amir, president, Essence USA; and Ryan Bangerter, business development director, Mytex. Questions for the group ranged from what drove panel members to keep or begin to focus on in-home solutions, new technologies such as voice activation, breaching the 3G/cellular network and more. 

Independence for the senior was a popular theme driving many of the strides companies are trying to make for the future — mainly, solutions that don’t require the senior to wear any sort of pendant.

“Voice activation is another example where the senior doesn’t have to wear a pendant; the system will monitor their daily activity, it will give the senior the independence they’re looking for, will give peace of mind to the family members, and will give the dealer increased subscriptions or RMR. So it’s a win-win situation for all,” Yaniv Amir said. “The challenge is that people don’t want to lose their independence, and a pendant is perceived as losing their independence.”

Speaking of independence, the PERS panel guests were then free to grab a bite to eat, check out the manufacturers who had exhibits set up around the dining room and then to enjoy their afternoon on one of three networking excursions including a speed boat tour, a water taxi tour or simply hanging out at Affiliated’s cabana poolside. The “A Night in Havana Dinner” capped off the night with various Cuban cuisine, music and dancers who frequently encouraged dinner-goers to partake in a short lesson and then dance alongside them. Needless to say, guests were Havana a good time.

Catalyst 2017 speakers constantly shared trends, knowledge and insight into how they got to where they are with attendees. Ken Gross, founder and chairman of Connect America, spoke Wednesday morning on his rise in the industry as well as how his companies serve as a valuable training ground for those looking to make it in the PERS business. Most notably, Gross shared about the process and being a large part of the formation of the Medical Alert Monitoring Association (MAMA).

Dr. Robert Rohm, corporate trainer and author, took the stage last to help those in attendance better understand not only their personality types, but how to best interact with others to get the most out of their workdays and businesses. This theme carried on throughout the entire conference with Oppenheim saying, “The most important thing you will learn is that the value of Catalyst will be what you learn from each other. These are industry veterans; these are people who have had success in our industry, and they will all tell you — and you all know — that it is learning from each other that has made you successful.”

And successful the PERS industry is expected to be. With industry research reports showing a consistent growth into the 2020s, Affiliated Monitoring continues to be a champion for these dealers in giving them the right tools and opportunities to grow, such as the Catalyst conference.  

“A lot of people often say: what was the golden age of music? Or the golden age of a certain town? Well, I just want you all to know: You are living in the golden age of PERS right now,” Oppenheim said. “The opportunity is right now, so don’t be nostalgic for another time. This is the time you’re going to be nostalgic for.” 
Catalyst 2018 will be held next May in Florida.