RRUG debuts to positive response from attendees
VERONA, N.Y.--The Rapid Response Users Group debuted here Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 amidst much fanfare at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino. More than 430 attendees represented more than 280 current and prospective Rapid customers present by the invitation of Rapid Response.
The first day of the RRUG opened with a welcome breakfast and presentation by Rapid president Jeff Atkins, during which the RRUG’s tagline, “Visioning the Future,” was unveiled above the stage. Part of that visioning was Atkins’ announcement that Rapid was in the process of migrating all of its accounts to Secure Global Solutions' monitoring platform stages. Of the partnership with SGS, Atkins told dealers “you’ll be able to improve response time and improve your relationship with your customers by tenfold.”
Atkins also made claims that the Rapid difference laid with his company’s personnel. “The most important part of Rapid Response is the people. Starting from 1992, we’re the only central station that has protocols and criteria--educational criteria and standards--for operators. Most other central stations, as long as you have a pulse, they hire you as an operator,” Atkins said and went on to describe the stringent standards for becoming a Rapid employee, including at least a two-year college degree, pre-employee screening, personality profiling to assure proper placement, drug screening, criminal background check, and satisfactory completion of SIA training courses, including alarm processing, customer service courtesy training, and ongoing skill and enhancement workshops.
Atkins and Rapid chairman and CEO Russ MacDonnell also announced their EMT-staffed response center Life Safety Monitoring was about 60 days from full launch. Medical Alarm Concepts, Visonic and Linear were present at the event in the exhibitor hall to demo their PERS solutions to attendees. Two of the most popular educational sessions, each of which played out to standing-room-only crowds, were dedicated to the PERS market and its exciting place in the market strategy of the traditional security company today. The sessions, “Emerging Opportunities in Life Safety Monitoring,” parts one and two, ran back-to-back, ran long, and saw extensive audience participation from integrators eager to reap the RMR of this emerging business model. The sessions packed in information on how to start and grow a successful and RMR-generating PERS business from MacDonnell, Rapid advanced dealer support rep Joe Parisi, Linear regional sales manager Todd Carson, Visonic VP of sales Mark Ingram, and MAC CEO Howard Teicher.
All attendees were treated to a tour of Rapid’s 40,000-square-foot monitoring center in nearby Syracuse. The tour, while quick, offered attendees a peek at the smoothly running facility and well-trained personnel of whom Atkins spoke at the welcome breakfast. The tour also afforded a brief glimpse of the separate “pod” from which the LSM operators will monitor PERS accounts.
One of the most popular events at the RRUG was the keynote talk on leadership during the reception and dinner on Sept. 1 from former space shuttle commander and NASA astronaut Col. Richard Searfoss. Searfoss talked about his experiences as a test pilot and shuttle pilot and shared his “philosophy on the universality of the principles of leadership.” Searfoss explained in order to be leaders in their industry, today’s security company owners needed to stand up, take risks, and dare to have vision. Today’s leaders, according to Searfoss, need to have purpose, a program of action, the people to get the job done, and perspective. Searfoss’ talk was greeted with the RRUG’s only standing ovation.
Overall, attendees this reporter spoke with were impressed by the organized, smooth-running nature of such a large-scale event (especially since this was Rapid’s inaugural Users Group), as well as the personal nature of all the Rapid Response employees on-hand to make sure all questions were answered and everyone’s needs were met. Buck Lewis-Mathieu, president of Chicago-based Prairie Signal Company, said they had been with Rapid for almost 10 years and had come to respect the service Rapid delivers. “If you weren’t familiar with Rapid Response this event could appear to be a lot of blow-harding and glad-handing,” Lewis-Mathieu said. “But it isn’t. It just isn’t. They back it all up.”
Exhibitors at the premier RRUG included AES-Intellinet, Aiphone Communications, Alarm Capital Alliance, Alarm Financial Services, Bosch Security Systems, D.A.F. Office Networks, Digital Monitoring Products, Door Security Solutions, DSC, Eastern Distributing, ENV Insurance Agency, FireLite, GE Security, GMR Video, HAI, Haylor, Freyer & Coon, Honeywell Security & Communications, John, T. Costa Co., Linear, MAC, Napco Security Technologies, OzVision, Video IQ, Videofied/RSI, Visonic, Xanboo, Xtralis, and Z-Micro Technologies among others.
The second annual RRUG will take place at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in early August 2010.