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Daniel Oppenheim

Capturing the magic of Catalyst 2019 with these “need-to-knows” about PERs, mPERS and professional monitoring

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Earlier this month, I attended Catalyst 2019, hosted by Affiliated Monitoring, at the “happiest place on Earth,” where “magic” literally happens moment by moment. With two main goals—education and networking/relationship building—this year’s Catalyst provided a ton of “magical” nuggets that all PERS and mPERS professionals need to know.

Need to Know Data

Daniel Oppenheim, Affiliated Monitoring’s CEO, pumping up the audience with his keynote and survey results from Edmonds Group: in 2017, PERs signed up 1.4 million service customers. This data is significant, because up until then, the PERs industry didn’t have good data revealing the size of this niche industry.

Oppenheim continued on, explaining how professional monitoring protects our 911 system: Of the 3.4 million active PERs customers, 51 percent press their button every month. This results in 1,734,000 professional monitoring interventions per month, saving 166,464 lives per month and preventing 1,567,536 calls to 911 per month. To continue “protecting seniors and giving peace of mind to caregivers,” Oppenheim suggested the need for professional monitoring companies to partner with government entities.

Need to Know Challenges

The top three PERs company challenges are:

1.    Telecom changes – The National Center for Health Statistics found 24 percent of those aged 65 and older have do not have a landline phone and within the next five years, VoIP adoption is expected to see a 124 percent growth rate.
2.    The 4G transition – Carriers say there will be no new 3G Sim activations after THIS summer, with the 3G network forecasted to shut down by February 2022.
3.    “Self-monitoring” and overcoming customer objections – Educating customers as to why PERs and professional monitoring is needed when there are so many smart devices on the market today, including smart speakers and watches, and emergency alert apps.

Need to Know Telemarketing Insights

Michele Shuster, partner, MacMurray, Petersen & Shuster, LLP took the Catalyst stage, gave some important advice regarding:

•    Third-party lead generation (gen) – if you purchase leads, know exactly where the company is getting those leads from; make sure lead gen contracts include “callable leads,” meaning the consumer understood that by providing their information they will be contacted; train your staff on how to make calls lawfully and audit using scrubbers. Shuster also said if you receive a letter threatening to get sued because one of your company representatives called a consumer, do not ignore the letters; be proactive by obtaining legal advice.
•    Consumer data – if your company has collected sensitive data about consumers and that information isn’t needed, get rid of it.
•    STIR/SHAKEN – make it a point to understand this new technology standard to ensure calling numbers aren’t spoofed, or the calling telephone number is not altered.

Shuster explained that basically, a trust token is issued from a telephone company, authenticating all the company’s phone numbers. The type of token issued dictates whether your call will get through without harmful labels being placed on it, or even getting blocked.

Need to Know Business Operation Tips

Richard Brooks, president, healthcare division, ConnectAmerica, gave the executive keynote, with business tips interspersed throughout:
•    Your teams make you successful; make sure each team member knows their jobs and their importance to the overall success of your PERs business.
•    Build “on-ground” relationships; you have to actually “touch” people so get “feet on the street.”
•    Your employees are your most important asset because they talk to your customers, sell your products and serve people.
•    Employees need to understand everything they do can impact a life.
•    As your PERs business grows, it’s impossible to do everything, so hire a management team to help with leadership.
•    For small PERs businesses, emphasize you’re the “local PERs provider” because seniors like local.
•    Local relationships are key for small PERs companies getting bought by larger companies. Know the key local people, interact and establish a good relationship. Brooks also advised keeping great books and records, staying on top of cash receipts.

Attending events is an exciting part of my managing editor role here at Security Systems News, which suites me to a tee because I love learning and then sharing my newfound knowledge with our amazing readers.

Where is video monitoring now?

Representatives from four monitoring centers provide insight on the video monitoring market
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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.

Affiliated expands educational structure for Catalyst 2018

Zappos executive will be the conference’s featured speaker
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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 to host second annual Catalyst

Daniel Oppenheim discusses plans for this conference
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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.

Red Hawk chooses Affiliated for monitoring

Red Hawk’s central station will now be owned and operated by Affiliated
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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
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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.

Apple Watch SOS and mPERS: Apples and oranges?

PERS execs compare features, assess competition
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07/14/2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—On first inspection, the Apple Watch’s newly announced ‘SOS’ feature may seem similar to an mPERS device, but PERS experts who spoke to Security Systems News said comparing an Apple Watch with an mPERS device is like comparing apples and oranges.

Industry reacts to Apple, other possible PERS threats

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

In last week’s Monitoring Matters blog, I discussed the Apple Watch’s new SOS feature, and its similarities and differences between PERS functions. A few security professionals took me up on the opportunity to respond.

Daniel Oppenheim, VP of Affiliated Monitoring, said that the heightened consumer awareness of personal emergency features could grow the market, instead of cannibalize it, and that the demographics are different. “I think the Apple Watch, specifically, is for a more mobile, more active, more tech-savvy person who would not yet be an mPERS or PERS customer.” Affiliated hosted a PERS-focused conference in May.

He pointed to Amazon, and its Echo product, as another possible entrant. “In its current iteration, the Amazon Echo is not competition, but it is a harbinger of things to come, which is the realization that consumer products now have the ability to replicate or even improve on the current technology offerings of our industry.”

Oppenheim said that neither are large concerns, but something the industry should keep an eye on. “I don’t view either [Amazon Echo’s virtual assistant] Alexa or the Apple Watch as a near-term threat to the PERS industry—I think it’s something that we need to be focused on.”

Brock Winzeler, GM of mPERS manufacturer Freeus, didn’t see much threat in the announced Apple SOS feature. “I don’t think the impact would be significant,” he said. “The reason is: It is very, very difficult to replace the services that we offer. … Our devices call a monitoring center that is specifically built to handle PERS phone calls and PERS emergencies.” 

Oppenheim shared a similar sentiment on the value of a monitoring center. “That crucial decision making process, by which an operator can have a conversation and identify whether or not help is needed—and stay on the line with the customer as help is on its way, for those that do need it—I do not see that being replaced by technology.”

Speaking more generally on voice interaction, Oppenheim said that the technology could become more prevalent in the future. “It seems complex now, but in a short period of time, the concept of voice interaction with a virtual assistant will become commonplace.”

Winzeler also said there is a technology barrier for the traditional PERS demographics. “I think you’ll have a really tough time getting the senior demographic to adopt this type of technology. I think it’s just a little more challenging.”

Rich Darling, CEO of Instant Care, an OEM PERS manufacturer, also said that PERS and Apple Watch feature differ due to their target users' abilities. “It is our belief that the Apple watch is a fantastic device for the tech savvy user. However, as a … PERS OEM we have found that the most successful products targeting the PERS market are designed to require very little from the user, and perform as required when the need arises.”

Affiliated’s Catalyst PERS conference sold out

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Affiliated Monitoring’s new PERS conference, Catalyst, sold out three-and-a-half weeks prior to the inaugural event on May 17.

Affiliated’s VP Daniel Oppenheim told SSN that Catalyst booked so quickly due to its “focus on sales and marketing, and Affiliated’s reputation as a PERS specialist.”

“We have 160 attendees, and including staff and vendors, we're going to be at about 200 total,” Oppenheim said. Oppenheim believes it will be the largest PERS conference ever held.

Oppenheim said that Affiliated will unveil three new services at the show, but declined to give more detail.

Former major league baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine will be giving the keynote address. “We were looking for someone who we felt has managed teams,” Oppenheim said. “He has very practical knowledge about bringing in people with different backgrounds, different skill sets. … He really can talk about the grind, day-in and day-out and trying to get teammates to perform.”

He said the company will look for a larger venue for next year. “We’ll probably do it again in Florida, just at a larger resort, around the same time.”

Monitoring companies foresee benefits from ADT/Protection 1 merger

Five leading monitoring companies share views on megamerger
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03/09/2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Monitoring companies have an opportunity to attract new business, new dealers and new employees in the wake of the planned ADT/Protection 1 merger, according to five leading monitoring companies who spoke to Security Systems News.

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