BCI Technologies pursuing video verification in residential market

Once exclusively a national integrator, BCI is making inroads into the RMR market, and video verified alarms are helping the company do that
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas—The topic of video verified alarms in the residential sphere featured prominently in a few panel discussions at ISC West, and it figures to remain a relevant topic as prices fall and technology improves.

BCI Technologies, a full-service security provider with a central station here, is finding success with verified alarms in the residential space and the small- to medium-sized commercial market, Sean O’Keefe, managing director, consumer sales, BCI Technologies, told Security Systems News.

He says it’s both the lower prices and the value proposition that are enticing consumers.

“People can justify that expenditure,” said O’Keefe, an industry veteran. “There’s virtually no difference in price between an alarm system with no verification capability and a verified system. In my mind it doesn’t make sense to have a system without verification.”

The central station RMR business is a relatively new project for BCI. Founded in 1990, the company started out as an integrator but expanded its offerings over time, adding (among other services) an alarm monitoring aspect. O’Keefe was brought in last year when the company decided to expand its RMR business—something O’Keefe had done previously at companies such as Brink’s and Westinghouse Security Electronics.

Headquartered in the Dallas metroplex, BCI has regional offices outside Boston and Atlanta and in Phoenix. This broad footprint and national infrastructure were among the reasons the company decided to forge ahead into the RMR business, O’Keefe said.

As far as sales strategies for video verified alarms, he said it’s mostly about informing customers what technologies they have at their disposal to make, and how they can make for a system that provides more information to them and law enforcement.

“It’s about showing that there are other technologies available to enhance the validity of some of the alarms produced at a premise, whether commercial or residential,” O’Keefe said.

He added that many alarm users aren’t necessarily aware that an alarm system typically transmits an electronic impulse to a monitoring facility and that the impulse is decoded to tell central station personnel about an event, be it intrusion, panic or fire. A legacy system can’t detect certain details about an intruder that might enhance the safety of responders and increase the likelihood that a criminal will be apprehended and stolen property recovered, he said.

Another crucial facet of the video verification sales strategy, he said, is explaining to prospective customers the greater likelihood of receiving a much faster response from law enforcement.

For many of its video verified alarms, BCI uses the Videofied platform because of its “price, wireless nature and ease of installation,” O’Keefe said, though he added that it’s not the only video verified platform BCI sells.

Like video verified alarms, the price of smaller CCTV systems is also becoming more financially practical for both residential and commercial applications, and O’Keefe expects the product options for video verified alarms to continue expanding in the coming years. He said that market expansion could bring about an increase in video alarms that are plug and play with home automation systems.

O’Keefe says the trend is bound to please law enforcement, who like to realize higher apprehension numbers.

“There’s virtually never an apprehension with basic alarms,” O’Keefe said. “With verified alarms we’ve seen apprehension rates between 25 and 40 percent.”