Centra-Larm adds video monitoring to suite of services

Monday, March 1, 2004

MANCHESTER, N.H. - After several years of sometimes difficult research, Centra-Larm Monitoring here is ready to launch its video monitoring service this month.
As the company looked at various technologies for video monitoring, one of the most sought-after products was something that would “work and stay working, and be trainable,” said Kevin Helmig, Centra-Larm’s senior vice president.

“You can’t have a video division with 10 different types of video. It’s inefficient and it’s not fair to set up an operator to fail in that respect,” he said. “As much as we want to be on the cutting edge, it’s also important that our operators can do the job properly.”

Centra-Larm finally settled on the eyesite ES 140 from Motion-Media.

When it came to researching pricing for video monitoring services, the company ran into a lot of obstacles (See related story on page 35), according to Amanda Helmig, director of sales and marketing for Centra-Larm.

Eventually, the company decided to base its pricing on a “cell-like” per-minute charges for both the event monitoring and guard tour services it plans to provide, said Kevin Helmig.

“A lot of people that we’ve seen out there are charging by the guard tour, but most systems bill by the minute. So how do you pull that off? How long is a tour?” he said. “You can’t just standardize. If you base your price for a tour on three minutes and the average tour is taking you five to 10, you’re in the hole from the get-go.”

For the event monitoring service, Centra-Larm will offer customers a certain number of minutes per month. Once that number is exceeded, it will charge per-minute charges. For the guard tour, pricing will be based on a connectivity fee plus per-minute, per-tour fees.

Because the ES 140 doesn’t need to be connected to an alarm panel to function, Centra-Larm doesn’t plan to limit this service to its dealers and their customers, but to anyone who wants video monitoring.

“It’s developing separate and apart from the central station side of things,” Kevin Helmig said. “If they marry together, they marry together. It’s really a separate upstart.”