Wholesale Central Stations: Innovation Is Key
New monitoring services, facilities upgrades, new dealer support options and more.
Wholesale central stations seem to be involved in a continuous process of upgrading facilities, adding new services and developing new ways to support the security dealers who use their services. We asked central stations about the actions they’ve taken in the last year or so to support initiatives in those areas.
Here’s what they told us.
COPS Monitoring is giving mPERS its full attention and planning a launch in the first quarter of 2019. For the past several months, COPS has been busy meticulously integrating mapping software through its API to facilitate the monitoring of mobile products and to have the ability to dynamically assign the correct authorities in real time based on longitude and latitude. COPS is also building out dedicated mPERS dispatch centers in two of its six locations specifically designed for mPERS monitoring.
“There are important differences between PERS and mPERS,” says Jim McMullen, COPS Monitoring’s President and COO. “The dispatch process is more dynamic, and therefore, more intense as dispatching to the … nearest address assigned to a latitude and longitude of a potentially moving device is much different from dispatching to a known address. We believe that the differences are so great that they warranted building dedicated mPERS centers.” mPERS dispatchers will also receive specialized mPERS training, education in CPR, HIPAA compliance, and potentially EMD certification.
In 2019, COPS will offer mPERS training at each of its six sites and as a part of its Grow Your Business seminars at selected cities around the country. COPS dealers also will enjoy special low pricing on leading mPERS products.
“We’re excited to offer mPERS to our dealers,” notes McMullen. “It not only has the potential to enhance the security of existing customers by extending protection outside of their homes and businesses; it can also be a significant source of additional revenue to our dealers.”
As part of the EM24 Alert suite of services, Visual Point Identification is an interactive floor plan that incident commanders and first responders use to mitigate the impact of a weapons event or other type of emergency inside a building or occurring in a community. Visual Point Identification is also an element of EMERgency24’s two-way, mass-notification software as a service.
Visual Point Identification is an online tool — functional on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone — that shows the location of an alarm activation so first responders can determine the most expeditious entry point to provide help inside of a building. This capability also aids in the planning of a route to a facility on campus or in a community.
Additionally, Visual Point Identification enables easy and intuitive access to video-camera feeds within a facility or community. Clickable camera icons that are shown on the floor plan open live video streams. This allows incident commanders to view the situation in real time and provide first responders with “eye in the sky” information about the whereabouts of the perpetrator or details about what they will encounter.
General Monitoring Services Inc. (GMS)
Over the course of this last year, GMS has been working on many internal technology upgrades and new services including the development of channels to assist and provide educational and marketing opportunities to dealers.
GMS did a significant “rebrand” the first month of the year with a new logo and redesigned website and new monthly e-newsletter reflecting the direction GMS has headed this year; its goal is keeping GMS partner-dealers and others in the industry educated about exciting new and existing products and services not only available through GMS, but also within the industry overall.
The nationwide wholesale monitoring company has also made significant capital investments in several new avenues for increasing recurring monthly revenue (RMR) for dealers and integrators. Examples include enhanced video monitoring services, mPERS, and various GPS tracking services.
Further, GMS did an evaluation review of its alarm monitoring automation platform this year to determine what, if any, improvements should be considered and implemented to work best with GMS’s customer base and to keep up with the fast-paced changes in the Industry. GMS will be implementing many enhancements and new options within its alarm monitoring automation platform in the coming months because of this year’s evaluation review.
GMS is a UL UUFX (Protective Signaling Services) central station.
National Monitoring Center
NMC recognized early on that the security industry is changing and that it would be important to identify significant trends at their earliest stages in order to stay ahead of those trends and bring the most value to dealers. Several years ago, NMC identified a multifaceted paradigm shift within the security industry toward video monitoring as a service (VMaaS), as well as expanding commercial needs, and has responded to these needs in several ways.
Understanding that these trends represented increased dealer RMR but would require substantial training and support to achieve, NMC invested heavily in hiring and building a team of regional sales managers who will be in the field to work with NMC dealers to adapt to this new climate by providing sales support, training, marketing and education.
NMC continues to invest in its full suite of traditional monitoring services, but has identified a trend toward the VMaaS model and toward video monitoring needs ranging from residential to high-end industrial applications. While continuing to partner with existing groups, NMC says it was first to bring the wide adoption of proactive video monitoring (PVM) to the market. PVM is based on a crime prevention video monitoring model aimed at stopping crime before it happens and giving dealers the opportunity to increase RMR through implementation of this model.
Dealers that are prepared to serve their shifting customer base with VMaaS options are likely to see significant and lasting growth, the company says.
Rapid Response Monitoring
Considering that change is the norm, Rapid Response Monitoring’s focus is not on what to implement today, because today is too late, the company says. Rapid Response Monitoring strives to keep the future in its sights and plan strategically to meet challenges before they arise. Most recently, the company enhanced its central station operations with the addition of new data center technologies, the completion of a 35,000-square foot expansion of its headquarters facility, integration with new platforms and service providers, and an exponential increase in the usage of SMS messaging for alarm notification.
Rapid Response is seeing increasing interest in alternative options for the central station to contact end users. For example, the company is seeing more requests to add SMS messaging and secure group chat as the first steps in alarm response. Further, the company is working with platform providers to create specific “cancel signals” that clearly report abort requests entered into virtual keypads or through mobile apps. This streamlines alarm response by the monitoring center and delivers on the user’s increasing desire to instantly control what happens.
Dedicated Rapid Response Monitoring teams are focused on developing strategic relationships with industry leaders and implementing new services that its dealers can easily fold into their offerings. The latest service introduction is a phone-based app that gets help to a user’s location wherever he or she is. This mobile app for “panic anywhere” provides a much needed customer service with advanced location and a connection to nearby users, while offering a new RMR stream for dealers.
As technologies continue to change and improve, Rapid Response Monitoring says it remains focused on staying ahead of trends and providing dealers with the solutions of tomorrow, today.
SentryNet, a wholesale central station monitoring service founded in 1987, has expanded its monitoring footprint by adding a monitoring center in Lacey, Wash. Currently, SentryNet’s two UL/FM/NISPOM-listed hot redundant monitoring centers in Memphis, Tenn., and Lacey provide monitoring for more than 650 independent alarm dealers, primarily based in the Southeast. Over the years, SentryNet has continued to expand its dealer footprint in the West, and the new monitoring facility will help ensure that the company is able to provide the best service to dealers coast-to-coast. SentryNet also maintains an office in Pensacola, Fla., as the primary sales and dealer relations location.
“2018 has been a transformational year for SentryNet. We have made significant investments in upgrading our monitoring platform and we are now opening a new monitoring facility,” said SentryNet Vice President of Dealer Sales Julie Beach. “In the coming months, we also will be launching a complete dealer program that will round out our vision of truly being a full business life cycle partner to security dealers across the nation.”
In January 2018, SentryNet upgraded its monitoring software platform to MASterMind, a fully integrated, enterprise solution for monitored security service providers and proprietary central stations. The goal is to provide SentryNet dealers with best-in-class monitoring services and expanded integration opportunities.
United Central Control (UCC)
The last year was a productive one at UCC. The company invested in its people by hiring more operators and raised the pay to all operators by an average of almost 20 percent per person. Because of this investment in people, UCC says operator retention has improved and response times are the best they’ve ever been in the company’s 36-year history.
UCC also made big investments in its facility. In September 2017, UCC began a $250,000 facility upgrade that included creating a new space and adding several cubicles for administration and data entry. Additionally, the company replaced all the carpet, repainted all the walls, and replaced all the cubicles in the central station with a sleeker, more modern look. The central station also was remodeled to make it more efficient and to accommodate future growth. In addition, the break room and conference rooms were completely remodeled.
In 2018, UCC added Numera mPERS monitoring to its portfolio of services and partnered with Pro-Vigil to bring UCC dealers a world-class outdoor video monitoring solution with unlimited events. At the current time, the company is working with Interlogix to become a reseller of that company’s Ultra Synch platform. UCC currently offer several unique and diverse platforms including Alarm.com, Alula, SecureNet, Telguard Home Control Flex, and Total Connect.
The year 2018 has also been big for educating and empowering UCC dealers and helping them with growth, operational efficiencies and attrition management. At press time, the company had hosted a record 21 “Grow Your Business” workshops all over the United States in 2018.