American Digital to open 40 satellite centrals across country

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Tuesday, January 1, 2002

BELLEVUE, Wash.-This month American Digital Monitoring opened its first satellite central station in West Palm Beach Fla., one of 40 such locations that company officials plan to open over the next three to four years.

The new satellite central is expected to provide American Digital with all the benefits of a regular central station, but without much of the expense. Since the location is remotely linked to the company's Bellevue, Wash. monitoring facility, it does not require all the central station equipment typically needed. It will also only accept calls for a 12 hour stretch beginning at 6 a.m., while alarm signals broadcast at other times will remain at the company's main central.

"The satellite center will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., when the bulk of dealers need information help," said Ron Cats, chief executive officer of American Digital Monitoring. "They can honestly tell their clients that they are monitored locally."

The Florida satellite central, which opened simultaneously with a Baton Rouge, La. UL-fire and burg central station, will be staffed with three people. The company's main central station currently employs 40 people.

Cats anticipates opening three satellite centrals per month, with much of the expansion taking place first along the West Coast.
The strategy is different than ones taken by other central stations of late, who have instead of taking the expansion approach have gone down the consolidation path.

"We're going the opposite way," said Cats. "We're actually trying to spread out in a way that offers low cost service."

Cats also anticipates being able to attract accounts as a result of having more central stations. The third party central currently monitors 107,000 accounts.

"We're focusing right now on dealer growth," said Cats, who expects to see a 40 percent growth rate over the next two years.

Some of that growth is anticipated to come from Alex Elliot's company PanelSaver.com. As part of a partnership American Digital will be the monitoring central station for the program and product, which allows dealers to take over accounts.

Cats anticipates adding 3,500 new accounts per quarter as a result of the partnership.

Elliot expects the program will appeal to dealers because PanelSaver is easy to use and American Digital offers inexpensive monitoring, such as $1 per account. Still, Elliot said neither company wants to encourage dealers to convert accounts that are currently under contract.

"If we find out a dealer is doing that, we will cut him off from the product," said Elliot.