Central gets into software business
TORONTO—Operating seven central stations across the United States and Canada, a.p.i. Monitoring will offer more to its dealers, with proprietary accounting software to be released Q3 2015, and a new mPERS partnership agreement to monitor Numera devices.
The software, designed by a.p.i. to make billing and accounting easier, will be offered to a.p.i.’s dealers at a monthly fee with no upfront cost and will be integrated with SIMS 3 central station software, which a.p.i. transitioned to in the last six months.
“As far as monitoring goes, a lot of us are all the same. We need something new and unique to offer our dealers, and this [software] gives it to us,” said Howard Garr, a.p.i. Monitoring president and CEO. “It answers every question that a dealer would have to make his life simple,” he said.
“We’ve been working on [this software] for almost three years,” said Garr, noting that it’s one of the longest software updates they’ve done. “It’s a very complicated process because we have to have tax codes in for all jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada, we have to be ready for future tax codes and all of the different services that all of the dealers offer throughout both countries.”
“[Dealers] can track service, inventory, etc.,” Lewis Jacobson, director of dealer sales, said. “We basically become their cloud.”
Referring to the cloud, Garr said, “That’s the way the industry is going. … The industry’s changed and we have to change with it, we have to be ahead and that’s what we’re doing.”
“We’ve had a lot of dealers tell us that once this is onboard and proven they’re going to come our way, so I think this’ll be huge for us,” said Garr.
Jacobson mentioned the new mPERS offering, as a natural extension of their existing PERS service, made easier by advances in the technology. This partnership will add new services to a.p.i.’s mPERS offering such as two-way voice and fall detection. Numera devices should be fully deployed this month, Jacobson noted.
The central will also offer dealers a new funding program, one-and-a-half years in development and to be formally announced near the end of the first quarter of 2015. “Cash flow is a major issue for a lot of business people, and we hope to assist and alleviate some of the cash flow issues our clients have,” Jacobson said.
With 1,500 dealers and 320,000 accounts in North America, Jacobson said a.p.i. is actively working on getting all seven of its central stations CSAA Five Diamond certified, with three certified since October 2014 and the other four expected to be certified by the end of 2015.