Subscribe to RSS - Affiliated Monitoring

Affiliated Monitoring

Where is video monitoring now?

Representatives from four monitoring centers provide insight on the video monitoring market
 - 
07/25/2018

YARMOUTH, Maine—Video monitoring, including proactive video monitoring, guard tours, video verification and even MIY among consumers, is on the rise, according to six wholesale monitoring professionals interviewed by Security Systems News.

Updates from Affiliated Monitoring's Catalyst 2018

 - 
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla.—I arrived Monday on Amelia Island, Fla., for Affiliated Monitoring’s third annual Catalyst conference, focused entirely on the sales and marketing aspects of the medical alert industry.

The first full day began with a welcome from, Mike Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring. He brought up the idea of “forced networking,” making sure that people are meeting and conversing with a multitude of different professionals, including ones they haven’t met before. To facilitate this, the conference has attendees in different groups throughout the event, such as with the table assignments or teams for networking events.

Zydor said that one of the valuable takeaways from the event will be the discussions and relationships made at Catalyst. Following this point, each attendee had the opportunity to stand and introduce themselves, their company, and where they’re from.

Next, Affiliated executive vice president Daniel Oppenheim presented “PERS: Today and the Future,” an overview of themes in the PERS industry and observations within Affiliated Monitoring. Oppenheim said how fortunate he is for what it is that the industry offers, “We offer a service that is vital to our customers, we save lives.”

The overall number of PERS signals that Affiliated received went up 45 percent last year, Oppenheim said.

“I feel very strongly in the future of our industry,” Oppenheim said. He pointed toward the baby boomer generation, the oldest of which are about 72 now, as a large opportunity—an entire generation that is about age into the typical PERS and mPERS demographics.

Related to that is one of the problems the industry will face in coming years, Oppeneheim said: that there are going to be more seniors, but there are projected to be fewer available caregivers. “There’s only one answer and it is our industry and technology that is going to solve this.”

An annual staple of the Catalyst program is the executive spotlight series, where Oppenheim has an on-stage conversation with leaders in the PERS industry, covering their perspective on the industry and the decisions that got them to where they are today. In 2016, Oppenheim sat down with Ritch Haselden of Essence USA, and in 2017, he spoke with Ken Gross of Connect America.

This year Oppenheim talked with Rob Flippo, CEO of MobileHelp, a provider of mPERS and health management solutions, which began in 2006.

“You bet big on mobile and you were right, what did you see that others in the market were not seeing at the time?” Oppenheim asked.

Flippo said that people weren’t using cellular in the home when he started, and he did his due diligence to figure out that there was no business reason for this and chose to take up the technology in his business. He noted that GPS technology was also in the early stages at that time.

Affiliated is now fully integrated with MobileHelp, Oppenheim announced on stage Tuesday. Through that process, Oppenheim met many members of Flippo’s team. He asked Flippo for his philosophies on putting together a team. 

Flippo first responded by agreeing with the phrase “The fish rots from the head down;” how management and ownership treat the people below them affects the entire business. Flippo also said that in assembling his team, he looked for people that would fit executive roles, before the company even had those positions.

Flippo provided an interesting perspective when asked to think about the future of the PERS industry, 10 years down the road. He said that the people buying PERS systems now, where about 65 when he started a little more than a decade ago. So, he challenged the audience to consider a 60 or 65 year-old now—that person will be a potential PERS user in 10 years. A 60 or 65 year-old now is more technological than in 2006, Flippo noted, and he predicted that PERS systems will come with more features and functionality that connects to other aspects of a user's life, much in the same way that the security ecosystem evolved to include more elements of home control.

The last session of the day was a panel, titled “Ask the Experts: Product Mix and Planning the PERS Future.” Here, Pete West, VP, North American director for KORE, moderated a conversation with Yaniv Amir, president of Essence USA, Ryan Bangerter, business development director for Mytrex, and Scot McGehee, VP of operations and sales at Climax.

To kick things off, Ward asked Bangerter about the value of the cloud for PERS. Mytrex is leveraging the cloud with its new PERS product, the MXD LTE. Bangerter said that, historically, PERS systems are a local installation, but the cloud element allows for an easier integration process and it helps with different communication paths.

Ward asked McGehee about the usage of mobile PERS inside of the home, as opposed to a cellular PERS system. Seniors can be much more energetic and mobile, he noted, and Users need something for mobile use outside of the home as well as usage in the house. “We’ve got to be able to cover both bases going forward to take care of the aging population,” he said.

Essence does business outside of the US, Ward noted. He asked Amir about trends that are in international markets that might enter the U.S. market. Voice activation is one such trend, according to Amir. Specifically, Essence offers a voice panic alarm system, where emergency response sensors can be installed throughout a user’s house and—because it relies on voice—doesn’t require a wearable. This is a good solution when caregivers would like to see more protection in an elderly person’s home, but that user does not want to appear frail.

To open the second day of Catalyst 2018, Mike Zydor had an on-stage conversation with Mark Melendes, managing director and group head—specialized industries, CIBC Bank US, about what dealers need to know a head of looking for additional funding.

Borrowing from a bank can be a great way to grow a PERS business, Zydor noted. He asked Melendes for the first thing PERS dealer should do when thinking about additional funds.

Melendes said to think of alternatives to borrowing from a bank. Borrowing from a bank can be very involved, he said, and there are other options that a dealer could look into; for instance, finding a local lender or sometimes the seller in a transaction can partly help with financing.

According to Melendes, key considerations include: whether financial records in tact, does the company have good financial reporting and a history of financial reporting, is there a good CRM system, and are there the right people to support a banking relationship.

The first time that Melendes meets a company, it can be when there is an immediate acquisition opportunity, one that might want to close quickly, and unless they have the right information it can be a challenge.

Zydor asked: What do people looking to buy need to pay attention to in buying a competitor?

While CIBC focuses on the financial part of the transaction, it is also concerned with the strategic fit of the purchase and the legal due diligence, Melendes said. “Strategic fit is definitely one that we focus on,” he said.

Something new for Catalyst that was included this year was a session devoted to a variety of discussion groups. Through an event app, attendees were asked for the topic that most interested them out of nine options. Four topics were chosen for discussion groups: Medicaid and government programs, customer retention strategies, leveraging social media for your business, and building your team: the most essential roles to fill.

I sat in on the social media session, curious for business leaders’ opinions on leveraging social media for an offering geared toward the senior audience, which is currently noted as not being very technological.

This group was divided into two tables. The table I sat with discussed how the main audience is often not the user themselves, but instead the younger caregiver—an individual more likely to be on social media.

One idea was that messaging about PERS products has been often built off of fear, the fear of a fall. The industry could benefit from portraying PERS as more of a lifestyle product, a device that allows its user a certain lifestyle with more freedom.

From there, the discussion circled around to newer ideas of advertising that are mainly focused on showing a product and then showing a user having a better experience from using it. This is a concept in imaging that PERS products could use to showcase the offering as a lifestyle-focused device, as opposed to one driven by fear.

After about 20 minutes, each table in the room—about nine in total—chose a representative to present the ideas of their group.

The final presentation for this year was from the featured guest speaker, Erica Javellana, speaker of the house for Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer. Javellana joined the company in 2007 as a human resources generalist and quickly rose to be the employee relations manager. She took the stage to talk about Zappos’ focus on customer service and how to focus on company culture.

Javellana began by talking about what Zappos calls P.E.C.: personal, emotional connection. Zappos wants each employee to establish a connection with each person they interact with, she said.

Zappos is committed to the idea of company culture and that means hiring and firing by those principles, Javellana said.

Zappos has 10 core values, central to the company’s culture, and one of them is to “Build a Positive Team and Family spirit,” and the wrong person can ruin a team’s dynamic. “If you get the right people, you get the right culture,” she said.

Other tenets of Zappos’ culture included “Deliver WOW through service,” “Create fun and a little weirdness,” and “Be humble.”

To “wow” through service means to go above and beyond, Javellana said. She shared the story of sitting in on a customer service call where a woman called in to try to find a specific sweatshirt. This woman hadn’t ever shopped with Zappos, Javellana noted, but the Zappos employee helped her none-the-less, and got to know her while searching for the sweatshirt. He eventually learned that the woman’s son had died in a car accident wearing his favorite sweatshirt at the time, and her younger son wanted the same one to remember his brother. The customer service representative, finding that Zappos did not have it, purchased one through a competitor and told the caller he would sent it to her.

It’s about the experience more than the transaction, Javellana stressed.

Creating a little fun and weirdness does not mean Zappos only hires extroverted people, Javellana said, it means they encourage employees to be their whole selves at work. Some people stress work-life balance, and are entirely different people outside of work. People could focus more on work-life integration, she said.

The last principle Zappos has in its culture is to be humble and the company has a small test for this. In hiring for any position, whether it be the COO or a department manager, they inform the candidate that all new hires are required to attend company-wide training followed by a period of answering phones, taking four weeks in total. If the applicant turns their nose up at the idea of answering phones, they are shown the door. One reason for this is that at busy times of the season, such as during the holidays, answering phones can mean all-hands-on-deck, Javellana said, including her and Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh.

Javellana ended her presentation with this question: “How will you wow?"

Affiliated expands educational structure for Catalyst 2018

Zappos executive will be the conference’s featured speaker
 - 
03/14/2018

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla.—Affiliated Monitoring is gearing up for its third annual Catalyst conference, to be held here, May 21-23. Daniel Oppenheim, Affiliated’s executive vice president, spoke with Security Systems News about some of this year’s speakers and educational sessions.

Affiliated's Catalyst 2017

 - 
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

MIAMI—On Monday I headed down to Aventura, Fla., just outside of Miami, to attend Affiliated Monitoring's second annual Catalyst, a conference focused on the sales and marketing aspects of PERS technologies. There have been a lot of interesting conversations happening at the conference; included below is a brief overview of the conference and some of the topics discussed.

Prior to the first official day of this year's Catalyst, the company held a PERS marketing primer for attendees. Mike Zydor, Affiliated's managing director, and Matt Solomon, director of software solutions for Affiliated, presented the introduction to the technology and the market. The number of people aged 65 years and older will increase in years to come, they said, adding that the typical PERS customer is in their low- to mid-eighties.

"We have lots of seniors and they live at home, they own their own homes and they want to stay in their own homes," Solomon said. Solomon and Zydor highlighted the point that often in selling PERS, a dealer is not interacting directly with the user, but with the user's adult children.

The two gave an overview of products on the market, such as in home technologies, fall detection, mobile PERS.

Zydor and Solomon delved into marketing in two key areas, direct-to-consumer and through partnerships. In discussing direct-to-consumer options, they gave an overview of paid search marketing, content marketing and SEO, print advertising, and social media among others. Of these, content marketing and SEO was highlighted as a good possibility for local efforts.

When looking for partnerships in the market, Solomon and Zydor said a dealer can look to hospitals, home healthcare agencies and senior services, among others.

The first day’s educational sessions started with an opening keynote on the state of the PERS industry, presented by Affiliated VP Daniel Oppenheim.

"You are living in the golden age of PERS right now, the opportunity is right now," Oppenheim said. He stated that he wanted to give attendees three main things to consider and take away from the opening address.

Firstly, he pointed out several products in the industry and their impact. While the majority of units are still in the home, Oppenheim said he’s seen fast growth in mPERS over the last two years.

The second item Oppenheim discussed is that dealers should learn more about their customers. Affiliated looked at figures from its interactions with PERS in 2016. PERS is about peace of mind, he said, pointing to the statistic that action was needed in response to a PERS button press 10 percent of the time during 2016.

Additionally, the company found out that of mobile PERS button presses, 53 percent of those users were at home. Similar to the previous years, the average age of a PERS user is 81 and the average age of an mPERS user is 78.

Lastly, Oppenheim discussed “the sale after the sale,” and that a good customer is not only one who has it delivered but one that uses it. He shared a figure: if a PERS user tests their system within the first 30 days of getting it, they were five times more likely to still be a subscriber a year later, as compared to those that didn’t test the unit within that time.

Oppenheim also noted that this year marks Affiliated Monitoring’s 40th anniversary.

Following the opening keynote, Matt Solomon presented “Agile Management in Action.” He described agile management as a methodology, or way of thinking about a business, in order to improve business efficiency.

Solomon discussed key aspects of the agile management philosophy, such as placing value in people and interactions instead of processes, delivering on the premise, working with customers and responding to change.

Agile management is a way of empowering employees to make decisions, he said. The methodology is also focused on shorter-term time frames, such as two weeks, as opposed to nine or 12 months. Agile is also about delivering value, he said.

Solomon gave attendees the chance to collaborate in a group activity, which was centered around working together, making decisions about prioritization, and ultimately seeing how the amount of work required for a task adds to the value of a business.

Prioritize, collaborate and get stuff done were three main points Solomon underlined.

“Executive Spotlight: DRTV and the Senior Market,” was the next session. Here, Daniel Oppenheim sat across from Peter Koeppel, founder and president of Koeppel Direct, a direct response media firm. In this session, Koeppel and Oppenheim had a conversation about direct response television advertising, or DRTV, and how it might fit into the PERS industry.

To start, Koeppel defined DRTV as a TV ad designed to get a consumer’s immediate response. Examples of DRTV would include commercials that instruct viewers to dial a number or visit a website to order a product or receive more information.

Koeppel said that seniors in particular are watching more TV, and they watch during the daytime, which is generally a less expensive spot for advertising. Longer time spots can work better with the senior market, he noted, allowing the number to remain on screen longer and slower talking in the commercial.

Koeppel showed two commercials as examples of DRTV and case studies for how they work—both chosen because they were designed for the senior market, much like PERS. Afterward he gave examples of how responses changed based on changes in the advertising, such as a better response to a rebate as opposed to other incentives, and more responses with a “repeater number” such as 555-1212.

In “Thought Leader Discussion: The Future of PERS,” Mike Zydor moderated a discussion with four executives from the industry: Ryan Bangerter, VP of business development for Mytrex; Yaniv Amir, president of Essence USA; Scott McGeHee, VP of sales and marketing for Climax; and John Carpenter, VP of channel engagement for Nortek.

Zydor opened the session with a specific question for each speaker. Noting that Mytrex has a focus on in-home units, he first asked Bangerter about what led Mytrex to stay focused on this area of the industry. "The biggest thing is looking at demand," Bangerter said, adding that there is a demand for in-home products.

After mentioning that Essence focuses on monitoring aspects of daily living, Zydor asked Amir where he sees the market going. One of the things Amir pointed out is that monitoring daily living habits through Essence’s system doesn't necessarily require a pendant, which can help. "A pendant is perceived [as] losing their independence,” Amir said.

Zydor asked McGehee about Mytrex’s work with both mobile and in-home PERS. McGeHee said that dealers look for an easy to use, simplified offering, which fits a senior who is not comfortable with an abundance of technology.

Next, Carpenter was asked for what he sees as key features of interest in the market, particularly considering that Nortek is involved with telehealth. Carpenter said that he sees being able to add more features and functionality as a benefit amidst other offerings that look to compete on price.

The second day of Catalyst 2017 started with "Keynote Conversation with Ken Gross- Executive Spotlight: Unrivaled Success in the PERS Industry," featuring a conversation between Daniel Oppenheim and Ken Gross, founder and chairman of Connect America. The two discussed Gross' approaches and successes in the industry.

Oppenheim opened with a question about Gross' history and how he came to the PERS industry. Gross answered that he first started an alarm business in 1977, sold it in 1989 and subsequently entered a 10-year non-compete. He returned to the industry in 1999 with a new business that he sold five years later in 2004. At that time he was investing in domain names, one of which was medicalalarm.com, which led him to enter the PERS business in 2004.

When Oppenheim asked about the key turning points in Gross' business, Gross pointed to two events, one which led to the other. The first event was a positive review in Good Housekeeping, which Gross said helped the company in forming a partnership with CVS. Through this partnership, Gross’ business put a display in 6,000 CVS stores.

Oppenheim also brought the conversation to a topic from the previous day's conversation on DRTV. Gross said that he has used specific numbers, such as 800 numbers—as opposed to 877 or 833—and repeating numbers.

Gross underlined one piece of advice at a couple of occasions: picking the right partners, including the right vendor and the right central stations for the business. "Pick the right partners and stick with it," he said.

Dr. Robert Rohm, corporate trainer and author, gave the final presentation of the day, covering personality types and the best ways to interact with different types of personalities.

Personalities are oriented in a couple of different ways, according to Rohm. People are either more task oriented or more people oriented; they are also either more outgoing or reserved.

Outgoing and task oriented tends to make for a dominant personality, he said. This group of people is filled with natural born leaders and likes seeing results. This group can also be defiant.

Outgoing and people oriented means a person is very fun-loving, looks to be liked, though can be illogical at times. Incorporating fun into a sales call with an outgoing and people oriented person will help, he said.

If a person has both reserved and people oriented traits, they will be supportive and generally like teamwork and appreciation. This group of people values peace and harmony, Rohm said. This group can be a “sucker,” he said.

The last group Rohm addressed is those that are task oriented and reserved. This group looks for value and quality answers and likes to be right. These traits mean a person likes patterns and to know what is expected of them. People who are task oriented and reserved can come off as cold, Rohm noted.

Attendees seemed really pleased with the event and the educational sessions, with quite a few returning from last year. Attendees were also positive on the networking opportunities and this year’s location.

Affiliated and Essence USA launch new PERS program

 - 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

UNION, N.J.—On Monday, connected living solutions provider Essence USA announced a new program, created in partnership with Affiliated Monitoring, to benefit dealers of Essence’s PERS products.

“The fully customizable program gives dealers a range of options about how to best run their PERS offerings, including order fulfillment - direct to the consumer or distributed to the dealer, customer service, invoicing and collections, equipment retrieval and refurbishment, and branding options,” the announcement read.

“PERS is a major focus at Affiliated,” Daniel Oppenheim, Affiliated’s vice president, said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to be able to provide this advanced system to our dealers who are interested in a turnkey PERS program.”

“We can customize a program for any dealer to make it easier to get into PERS,” Affiliated Managing Director Mike Zydor said in the announcement. “For the dealers already in the market, we can provide access to preprogrammed, leading-edge products at discounted rates.”

Essence’s Care@Home suite of PERS products benefits both dealers and end-users, Essence said in its announcement. The offering has a large radio communications range for devices, “allowing users maximum flexibility in moving around their home and property. They also offer a wide variety of safety and security sensors, giving dealers an attractive and scalable offering for their customer base,” the announcement said.

“Essence is on the forefront of in-home PERS technology and has a veteran management team behind it,” said Yaniv Amir, President, Essence USA, in the announcement. “Essence historically has only worked directly with larger players in the space, and we are excited to now bring our products to all Affiliated dealers.”

The program is scheduled to launch within the Affiliated dealer network at the end of May.

Affiliated to host second annual Catalyst

Daniel Oppenheim discusses plans for this conference
 - 
03/29/2017

MIAMI—Affiliated Monitoring is bringing its Catalyst conference, focused on PERS sales and marketing, to Turnberry Isle here for its second year, May 15 through 17.

Monitoring: The argument for wholesale

 - 
Wednesday, November 16, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Throughout the year one topic has been cropping up: the benefits of switching to a wholesale central station.

Several companies this year have opted to pick a third party monitoring center over continuing to operate their own central; RFI Communications switched to Rapid Response in March, Red Hawk Fire & Security partnered with Affiliated in October and recently, Comtronics switched its monitored accounts to NMC.

Some of these companies said that the move allowed them to refocus on the core of their business.

One thing that each of these companies highlighted is new-found flexibility and the ability to focus more heavily on offering new services and technologies to their customers. Specifically, these companies highlighted offerings such as mobile services and video verification with I-View Now.

This has been a pretty hot topic in the industry, it seems. I know if came up at CSAA’s annual meeting in the panel entitled “Owning vs. Contracting – Future Trends for Monitoring Centers.” I’d like to hear your opinions; Is this trend going to continue? Feel free to check out our most recent News Poll to share your views on the business benefits of either third party monitoring centers or operating your own central station. 

Red Hawk chooses Affiliated for monitoring

Red Hawk’s central station will now be owned and operated by Affiliated
 - 
10/12/2016

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Red Hawk Fire & Security announced this week that its accounts will now be monitored by Affiliated Monitoring as part of a new alliance between the companies. Additionally, Affiliated will now own and operate Red Hawk’s central as a load-balancing monitoring center.

Wholesale monitoring company success: It’s all about the dealer

Monitoring companies mine data for dealers, provide the latest in technical offerings
 - 
09/16/2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Wholesale monitoring centers use a variety of methods to grow their revenue and account bases, but dealer relations and support is the key to success, according to several executives who spoke to Security Systems News.

SecurityTrax increases integrations

Company has been gaining momentum since its 2015 acquisition by Alarm.com
 - 
08/31/2016

TYSONS, Va.—SecurityTrax, a cloud-based CRM offering from Alarm.com, integrated with four new monitoring centers recently.

Pages