Alarm.com goes commercial
VIENNA, Va.--It's official. Alarm.com, originally targeted to the residential user, now has a commercial offering.
In business for five years and actively selling for two, the company discovered a year ago that nearly 40 percent of its dealers' sales were to commercial customers. At the dealers' request, "we incrementally added to the product, and at some point realized what we have here is noteworthy and we should begin to promote commercial capability of the product," said president and founder Steve Trundle.
Commercial customers, Trundle said, like the notification features and the system's ability to track and synthesize data from events in a facility even when a system is not armed. Alarm.com's focus on data makes sense given the fact that Trundle previously founded a company, MicroStrategy, dedicated to "large, large data warehousing, data mining and data alerting."
Alarm.com dealer Joey Ferrell, general manager of Home Secure in Murfreesboro, Tenn., said his experience with Advanced Pay Day of Nashville was typical. The company owners wanted the system for its 17 branches "mainly because they wanted the radio back-up capabilities and the ability to arm and disarm the system." But, along the way, the owners discovered several other notification features that "are helping their business," he said.
The commercial offering is a web-enabled wireless system that sends alerts, via cell, PDA or laptop, when an event occurs, a door or cabinet being opened or a system being armed or disarmed.
For customers with "hundreds if not thousands of facilities, the value goes up exponentially with the number of facilities you have. It's not just security intelligence, it's operational intelligence," Trundle said.
Trundle said customers like the customizeable alerts, the normal activity reporting, the arming and re-arming features and the ability to control, without the help of a dealer or technician, many of the advanced capabilities of their system.
"For the dealer, a lot of the costs of providing some of the advanced service are taken out of the system, and you have a happier customer because they really do have more control without having to learn a lot of complex alpha-numeric interfaces or panel nuances," Trundle explained.
For example, when there is employee turnover, the company owner can manage access across several facilities through a web interface. "You go to one place, click delete, and all of that former employee's user codes are deleted from the system," Trundle said.
Further, "We report every sensor event that might be occurring in a facility whether a system is armed or not," he explained. "Some ask, Why would you want to deal with all data? The reason is that we think that those sensor events in aggregate can provide some insight about the business and at times they pick up security events that a system that only works in an armed state would never really pick up."
A storeowner may want to track foot traffic after a sale flyer ran in a newspaper, for example, and "The security sensor that's there to protect that facility is capable of grabbing that data and presenting it back."
Ferrell, at Home Secure, said his Alarm.com customers "are customers for life, because of the level of service and there's nothing else out there competing with this."