BellSouth, Pro One take it up a notch

The two businesses partner to offer security to the telecom co's small business customers
Friday, April 1, 2005

LAWRENCE, Kan. - BellSouth and Protection One have teamed up once again, but this time the two have come together to pursue commercial security business.

As part of the alliance, the two will work together to market and install commercial security systems in BellSouth’s nine-state territory in the Southeast. BellSouth will market the service to its one million small business telephone customers, while Protection One will be responsible for the security system installation.

The recent partnership builds off an existing alliance the two companies forged in 2001, when they came together to market security systems to BellSouth’s residential customers. The company currently serves 12-million residential customers. This program, like its residential counterpart, will also be known as BellSouth Security Systems from Protection One.

“When we launched this four years ago, we really were a residential company,” said Richard Ginsburg, president and chief executive officer of Protection One. “We didn’t have a large, commercial sales force. Now we do, and it just seems natural to sell those other products.”

According to September 2004 numbers, Protection One serves one million monitored subscribers. Of that, 30 percent of the company’s revenues come from commercial security work, compared with only 10 percent just a few years ago, said Ginsburg.

Unlike the residential program, which BellSouth rolled out to the various states it serves during a several month period, the commercial security partnership will be available immediately to BellSouth’s customers. The telephone company serves an area that extends from Kentucky to Louisiana and operates 18 branches.

The offering will feature CCTV systems, photo badging, card readers, web-based access control, intrusion detection systems and fire protection systems.

Ginsburg declined to provide numbers on how many BellSouth customers have taken advantage of this program since its launch in February, citing that the company does not include this information in its public filing.

For BellSouth, offering security to its commercial customers made sense.

“Part of this was born out of trying to find a process to handle the sorts of requests that our sales get,” said John Pumpelly, director of brand licensing for Atlanta-based BellSouth.

Pumpelly also said that given the nature of BellSouth’s business, offering local and long distance voice and data solutions, along with wireless and Internet services, security dovetails well for its small business customers.

“The interesting thing about security is it does impact all four,” he said.