All Total Connect all the time

Garden State Fire & Security Alarm embeds TC in all installs
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Monday, August 2, 2010

ABERDEEN, N.J.—Garden State Fire & Security, which recently became a Honeywell First Alert Professional dealer, is installing GSM in all of its residential alarm installations and setting them up with Total Connect as well.

"We charge a higher monthly fee for monitoring," said Mike Ash, Garden State president. "We feel it makes the system more valuable for the customers, so they can arm and disarm their systems [remotely, and] when they interact with their system regularly, we believe it'll help us retain them as customers over time," he added.

Total Connect is a Honeywell product that allows businesses and homeowners to keep close tabs on their home or business via cell phone, PDA or computer. It enables them to remotely arm and disarm alarm systems, receive alerts and view video clips.

Started by Ash's father in 1969, Ash took over as president in 1983. The company's roots are in residential security, where Ash said he still does everything from $99 systems to multi-million dollar homes. Today, Garden State derives about 60 percent of revenues from commercial security. The company, which has 14 full-time employees, also does CCTV, access control and fire installation.

Ash said he decided to go with Honeywell and all GSM as he began encountering more cell-phone-only households.

While many of his older customers "could really care less" about some of the special features and capabilities of Total Connect right now, Ash believes these innovations will catch on with all customers and be expected in the future. At that point, he'll be able to instantly set up an existing customer with Total Connect.

"The technology is cheap enough to put it in," he said. "Plus it's the right thing to do with POTS lines going away." And, when POTS lines do go away, "I won't have to worry about my customers" who're all GSM, he said.