The idea of setting up your own monitoring company crosses the mind of almost every Alarm Company owner at some stage, but a quick calculation of the cost of an alarm receiver, backup power generators, multiple phone lines, alarm automation software and everything else that goes with it, is usually enough to deter them. A capital outlay of tens of thousands of dollars deserves serious consideration if you only have a handful of paying Customers.
The concept of Cloud Computing and software as a service has changed all of that and it’s now possible for new start and established alarm companies to seriously consider setting up their own Central Station. The AlarmCloud Platform developed by IP Alarms can receive alarm signals over the Internet and display events in a grid for an operator to take action. All an operator needs is a web browser and an Internet connection.
The AlarmCloud Platform comes complete with video verification and event snapshots are instantly available to operators when they handle an alarm. With permission, operators can quickly and easily switch to live view to further verify if an event requires a police response. No expensive Video Verification software is required as it’s all an integral part of the platform.
Traditional Alarm Monitoring Centers generally provide great service to their Dealers, but the demise of POTS and 2G has left many of them behind as they are unable, or unwilling to embrace the world of IP. If you believe that the future of alarm monitoring is over IP but your monitoring provider doesn’t, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your options.
Rightly or wrongly, police departments have the perception that 98% of alarms are false. Attending alarms costs money and as police departments around the country are looking at ways of cutting costs, alarm response is a vulnerable target. If an alarm event is found to be false, then the fines for the monitoring company, alarm company or end user can be substantial. All in all, it is far better to verify that an alarm is genuine before requesting a police response.
As an authorized IP Alarms Dealer, you have video verification technology readily available to you and your Customers. It is easy to add IP Cameras into the Virtual Monitoring platform so that images can be recorded and emailed to your Customers for alarm activations. This process is simplified as we do not force you to use any particular make or model of camera. Either you or your Customers can purchase IP cameras from anywhere you like. The only requirement being that they support snapshot commands from the URL bar of a browser, for example http://demo3.stardotcams.com/netcam.jpg (please comment if the link is broken and we’ll update it with a link to a different camera).
There are many good quality IP cameras priced at under $100, so it’s no longer too expensive to consider video verification for the residential market. In some municipalities, that is much less than the cost of a false alarm fine!
To encourage you to start using video verification technology, we are allowing Dealers to add four cameras to each Customer account for free in 2013.
Many Alarm Dealers build up their business with a view to one day selling out. There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make your company more attractive to potential buyers. If you were buying up some accounts – what’s the first thing you’d want do?
You’d want to move the accounts to your own Central Station. With that in mind, you need to make sure that this process will seem as simple as possible for your potential buyer. Try to make sure you have the ability to remotely program as many as your subscriber’s panels as possible. This was pretty straightforward over phone lines, but many cellular and IP upgrades do not allow you to upload/download data to and from the panel. Before migrating your 2G and POTS systems to 3G or IP – make sure that you do not lose the ability to remotely program your panels.
Once you have migrated your systems to IP, you need to make sure that you can easily switch all of your accounts to an alternative Central Station. It is possible to keep your IP, but it can be costly too. A much easier way is to use a domain name and a technology called DNS SRV. This is very affordable and can be as little as $29 per year with a Standard DNS package through Dyn.com
Doing it this way, you would own the domain name and have the ability to point that domain to the IP addresses of your choice. This is all done from a simple web interface and each and every IP device you have in the field can be pointed to an alternative monitoring company within a matter of minutes.
Fixed public IP addresses can easily be attacked in a DDoS attack and it can be VERY expensive to fight such attacks. If you do not have deep pockets and a commitment from others to help fight attacks, your Customers could be offline for days or even weeks. Do your research on DDoS to make sure you fully understand the risks of using fixed IP addresses for alarm monitoring.
The use of DNS SRV allows you to easily change the list of IP addresses for your domain name and your client IP devices will be able to locate the new IP addresses very quickly. When fighting a DDoS attack, you can use dynamic IP addresses to make it difficult for the attacker to follow. The devices used as part of our IP Alarm Monitoring Solutions check for a list of IP addresses every few minutes so you can change them as much as you like and the devices will always be able to locate the server – wherever it may be.
Concerns about running a phone or CAT5 cable from the alarm panel to the Customers router have prevented many alarm dealers from migrating their systems to IP. The release of the Obi202 VoIP adapter from Obihai has put an end to those concerns as it is now possible to use wifi to connect your alarm panels to the Customers network equipment.
There is a small USB stick called ObiWifi that can easily be plugged into the Obi202 USB port. You then have the freedom to install the OBi202 adapter anywhere within range of the Customers Wi-Fi network and avoid running any type of cable.
As the Obi202 and ObiWifi combined cost under $100, this keeps labor costs to an absolute minimum when migrating your subscribers away from 2G or POTS. There’s never been a better time to get started on one of the IP Alarms Dealer Programs.
With Wi-Fi systems, ugly surface wiring or potential damage to decoration and the fabric of a building previously caused by the installation of concealed wiring have been eliminated.
In residential applications, surface wiring is considered ugly and it can damage the home decor. This is not such a big deal in commercial applications, but the concern there is having the wifi network hacked. There are literally hundreds of articles on how to hack Wifi networks that use WEP encryption, so it’s important to choose WPA if this is a concern to you.
Monitronics recently wrote an article on the importance of Wifi to them, so it’s only a matter of time before other Alarm Dealers follow suite. The release of Honeywell’s Lynx/Tuxedo Touch wifi enabled equipment will lower the barrier for many in the security industry, so even though upgrading all your Customers with new Honeywell panels may not be an option, there are plenty of other options out there for you to discover.
Response Center USA are based in San Antonio, Texas and offer alarm monitoring over the Internet with the RCIC – Response Center Internet Communicator. They specialize in two-way voice and medical PERS monitoring and they were one of the very first companies in the USA to use 2-way voice verification technology.
RC-USA do NOT contract directly with end users are at the forefront of the drive towards monitoring alarm systems over the Internet with their RCIC module… http://rc-usa.com/rcic/
If you are an Alarm Dealer looking for 2-way voice service over IP using IP Alarms technology, then look no further than Response Center USA. Give them a call and ask for Joe Guernica the Business Development Adviser.
11235 Gordon Rd. San Antonio, Texas 78216
Phone (866) 489-4105
Direct cell: 214.529.6412