Companies go the extra mile to monitor vehicles

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

MONTREAL--Protectron, the largest privately owned, full-service security provider in Canada, extended its relationship with mobile security provider Vigil GPS at the end of March--a move that allows both companies to offer a bundled service package to its end users.
The package offers end users the opportunity to secure their homes and cars, with systems for homes installed by Protectron and automobile security units installed by authorized Vigil GPS dealers. Both will be monitored by Protectron's central stations and will be offered to both companies' commercial and residential customers.
"We agreed right from the start that we would both continue to do what we were each best at," said Patrice De Luca, vice president of Protectron.
De Luca said the reason Protectron, which purchased the Canadian assets of Protection One in 2002 and handles 70 percent residential accounts, partnered with Vigil initially was its belief that Vigil's system would be able to maintain a low percentage of false alarms.
"They had a good idea to consult with us and because of that they designed a system that would develop very little false alarms," De Luca said.
De Luca said Vigil's GPS service is designed as a theft deterrent system, unlike others common in the United States, such as OnStar, which is more of a concierge service.
"Concierge services can be easily disarmed by someone who wants to steal a car," he said.
One of the biggest drivers behind the combined service, according to De Luca, was the fact that insurance companies in Canada will combine home and auto insurance at a discount for consumers. Protectron, which employs 550 and monitors more than 170,000 accounts across Canada, and Vigil's offering mirrors the insurance initiative by giving customers a rebate if they add an auto security service to an existing home system and vice versa.
The main component of the bundled package is the billing, which is incorporated into one bill for both services.
De Luca said the cost of the mobile surveillance package runs between CAD 400 ($322) and $500 and the monthly monitoring fee would be an additional $15 per month.
At press time, the company had roughly 1,000 customers signed on for the combined services, but De Luca said he hopes that that number will rise quickly and sees the company installing hundreds of systems per month.
De Luca said Protectron is one of the first security companies to open its central station doors to mobile asset tracking.
"Not everyone in the security industry thinks that it was central stations' role to monitor those assets other than homes. We are just kind of pushing the envelope here," he said. "We are not about just fixed asserts, but moving assets."