Despite tough economy, VRI adds 10k accounts

POTS-less PERS solution one main driver
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

DAYTON, Ohio—Valued Relationships, Inc., based here, has defied the tight economic atmosphere and realized a 25-percent increase in its accounts in the past year, the company claims. VRI on May 5 announced it had added 10,000 accounts, growing from 40,000 to 50,000 accounts serviced.

VRI president Chris Hendriksen said the increase in accounts—mostly monitored PERS accounts—could be attributed to new product offerings and, given the impending POTS sunset, increased sales of VRI’s VoIP PERS solution, Digicare. “We’ve added some new services—like vitals monitoring and medication adherence—and the dealer network really started to adopt those,” Hendriksen said. “We also have a PERS solution that works on VoIP, and that’s been a big part of our growth. That increasing need for a solution that works with digital technology.”

VoIP presents challenges for any alarm system and specifically for two-way voice dependant PERS solutions since data can be distorted or omitted as the bandwidth fluctuates and packets are dropped. This fluctuation can result in missed or inaccurate emergency reporting at the monitoring center. Hendriksen said DigiCare leverages proprietary hardware and software at the company’s CSAA Five Diamond-certified medical-alert-only monitoring center to receive both emergency and maintenance calls without the risk of interference or data loss from typical VoIP issues.

In a recent interview with Security Systems News, Medical Alert Monitoring Association board member Christopher Baskin, who is president of Hollywood, Calif.-based PERS company American Two-Way, said discussion during a manufacturers’ roundtable at the annual MAMA Spring Meeting got very heated when attendees began lamenting the lack of sufficient post-POTS PERS options. “We had a manufacturer’s panel and during the discussion the MAMA members were very, very vocal about the immediate need for a GSM PERS solution,” Baskin said. “There was noticeable frustration at the lack of a device now. A number of manufacturers said they were working on solutions but they seemed to be a ways out.”

Hendriksen, who was at the MAMA Spring Meeting, agreed. “There is a need for improved technology, and we need to address technological change in communication,” Hendriksen said. “The first piece is VoIP and digital phone, and none of the other manufacturers has really built a solution for that yet. And then secondly, we’ve got to prepare for the disappearance of landlines completely through a GSM solution.”