Managed Video Services Give Dealer a Leg Up in Growing Its Commercial Business
Acadiana Security Plus (ASP), based in Lafayette, La., is a long-standing, traditional alarm installation company with its own central monitoring station. The company’s primary focus had always been the residential alarm market. The focus following that was small- to mid-size businesses, though it never reached the level of success the company enjoyed in the residential space. Company executives set out to change that.
“We wanted to explore new ways to diversify and grow the business,” said Managing Partner Keith Schexnider. “We took a long look at the type of customers we have and, more importantly, the ones we don’t have or have enough of. Then we looked at the types of services we needed to offer to obtain more of those types of customers. We determined that remote video monitoring and other managed services could be a catalyst for us in that regard.”
The company had tried a couple of different video verification solutions in the past, but it never blossomed into a viable business model for them because those solutions did not offer the level of service that would be valuable to the commercial world. The company knew that it needed a more robust solution that would work with several types of video systems and provide more interactive services as opposed to simple video verification.
“Our goal was take a $30 to $40 per month account and turn it into a $100/$200/$500-plus account per month and to do it tenfold,” Schexnider said. “We just needed to find the right solution to enable us to do that.”
Bryan Ebeling, the company’s video manager, was very experienced in and knowledgeable about the video monitoring world. Ebeling introduced SureView Systems’ Immix platform to ASP. Ebeling was familiar with Immix CS from a previous position managing another monitoring center that used it extensively. That made it an easy sell to management because the personnel were already in place that could deploy and implement the product as well as train the monitoring staff.
ASP implemented Immix CS in January 2017. It took about one month to get the supervisors and technical support staff up to speed and about three months to get all monitoring staff properly trained and comfortable with the platform. The company runs Immix CS two ways: through the Bold Manitou platform for all video verification accounts so as not to disrupt the normal workflow of the dispatchers who are used to handling traditional alarm accounts, and as a standalone platform for all remote guarding and interactive accounts. The company is currently utilizing the same staff for both deployments, but plans to separate the two platforms and personnel entirely once the number of monitored accounts allows for economy of scale to do so.
To get started, ASP began selling simple services such as health checks and eCare alerts as mandatory add-ons to accounts to maintain the integrity of a customer’s security system. The sales staff was quickly educated on the new service offerings through a full-scale sales training program to help them better understand the concepts, value-adds, and mindset change required to sell video RMR services at much higher prices than traditional alarm RMR.
After just one year with Immix CS in place, ASP has added more than 50 video monitoring accounts solely through direct sales, adding more than $8,000 in commercial RMR through video monitoring and managed services. Commercial sales now account for 53 percent of the company’s revenue. By the end of 2018, the company expects the revenue split to be 60/40 in favor of commercial.
“The addition of Immix has been a tremendous benefit to our business,” Schexnider said. “It has truly opened up new verticals for us, enabled us to sell more high-end, feature-rich products, whereas our competition is typically selling lower-end hardware. We have been able to achieve much better cash flow due to the higher margins on video products and RMR services and we feel like we are just getting started.”
ASP was able to secure a contract with the largest regional automotive conglomerate to secure multiple dealerships through video analytic monitoring and talk-down to the tune of several thousands of dollars a month in RMR. The solution has resulted in several arrests and theft or damage preventions at those customer sites. In addition, the company targeted the financial vertical by offering a video escort service for opening and closing procedures; developed a special product and service package for pharmacies to better protect their Schedule-4 narcotic storage rooms through video verification; and is securing several sites for electric utility providers.
The company also has found remarkable success with a unique use-case of video monitoring for credit card skimming prevention at gas stations/convenience stores. An arrest was made in the first few days after deployment of this solution and has since led to the addition of four new sites from this customer.
In an industry that is often resistant to change, particularly migrating away from a model that has been successful for so long, ASP proved it can be done with the right intentions, tools, attitude and strategy. Making the commitment to build a video monitoring program and implement the Immix CS product elevated the company’s capabilities, as well as the perception of the company among key target verticals and resulted in success in a short time. The sky is the limit as ASP continues to grow, evolve and fine-tune its offerings and capabilities.