Making money on mobile monitoring

Monitoring company execs extol the benefits of mobile PERS and mobile apps
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Whether the talk is about mobile PERS devices with geo-fencing, speed alerts and lone-worker monitoring, or about smartphone apps that better connect subscribers with central stations, the takeaway is that the monitoring space is going mobile, and the transformation is happening fast, according to central station executives who are using these newer technologies.

“[mPERS] is absolutely the fastest growing thing we see right now on the PERS side, with the emergence of multiple mobile PERS devices coming into the marketplace,” said Kristin Hebert, dealer and vendor relations, Acadian Monitoring Services, a provider of fire and security monitoring systems based in Lafayette, La.

“It’s very profitable compared to traditional PERS on a POTS line. A lot of people are collecting $30 to $20 with traditional PERS, whereas with mobile PERS, depending on the situation, you may be at $60 or down into the low forties or high thirties,” he added.

Hebert’s remarks were made during a recent ESX series webinar titled “Get Moving: Opportunities and Requirements for Mobile Monitoring.” The key message of the webinar, moderated by Virginia Williams, director of program development, AE Ventures, was that RMR opportunities abound for those who take advantage of the mobile services making waves in the market.

Among those services are mobile PERS units, which Hebert and another panelist identified as the most profitable mobile monitoring offering in their respective businesses.

Cliff Dice, CEO and president of central station automation platform provider Dice Corporation, echoed Hebert in saying mPERS was the fastest growing product area.

“There’s a lot of ways to skin the cat, a lot of ways to make money,” he said. “For the people who are doing this and focused on it and have the sales teams to push it out there, it’s pretty easy to bring in a lot of RMR for this stuff.”

Most of the panelists agreed that a dedicated sales team is vital for finding sustained success in the PERS market. Hebert said a dedicated technical team could also prove advantageous, giving companies a more focused approach in dealing with PERS-specific matters, such as pendant switches and battery issues.

Another thing for PERS providers to consider is making sure they partner with a central station that has PSAP integration with their software, Hebert noted.

But mPERS wasn’t the only mobile trend the panelists were touting. No conversation about the increasingly mobile monitoring industry is complete without a discussion of smartphone apps, not only for dealers and their technicians, but also for end users wanting greater access to central station event information.

Steven Coppola, president of Statewide Monitoring, a central station based in Staten Island, said mobile apps are far and away the most in-demand feature.

“What’s really happening in my business, as a wholesale central station, is that we’re hearing from alarm dealers who say their customers want an app and want to know if they can interact with central stations,” he said. “They were previously able to do it with web browsers, but now it’s on the phone and everyone wants it that way.”

Coppola described as “progressive” the trend of mobile apps working in conjunction with central station software to foster more robust interactions between subscribers and monitoring centers.