DICE helps monitoring stations stay operational during pandemic

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

BAY CITY, Mich.—DICE Corporation is helping monitoring stations stay fully operational during the coronavirus pandemic, providing the technology and support to allow these alarm companies to seamlessly move their workforces to home, while keeping people and critical assets and infrastructure protected without interruption.

“Looking big picture, there are tens of millions of accounts connected to these monitoring stations today,” DICE Executive Vice President Avi Lupo told Security Systems News. “For a company that has anywhere from 20 to 200 operators and other operations people in a building, if you are not ready to do things remotely, you can expose yourself with one event such as this.”

Lupo explained that the COVID-19 pandemic is not what would be considered a typical disaster situation, such as a storm or an earthquake, for example. “Understanding where we are now, with this being an ongoing situation and possibly seasonal, companies know that disaster recovery is a necessity that goes beyond what you would typically consider, and it must be done in the most efficient way, not just this patchwork after the fact,” he said.

DICE CEO and President Cliff Dice agreed that the nature of this crisis is different than what the industry has dealt with before. “This is a little different because you can’t have all of your people at the office, but all of your equipment and computers are still running, and your signals are still coming in to your receivers, but you just don’t have people there to run anything,” he pointed out. “So it’s almost like an evacuation.”

He said that DICE is helping these monitoring centers tackle the biggest obstacles and challenges during this type of recovery scenario, from being able to access and manage systems remotely to enabling operators to take and make calls with the same efficiency and procedures that they have always been expected to follow.

“We build you a virtual switch in the cloud, so to speak, where as phone calls are coming in, we will route it to operators’ phones in their houses, mostly cell phones,” Dice explained. “So those act as phones off the company’s PBX, so we set up those call groups and route the calls, and also allow them to make calls through the company’s phone numbers.”

As of early April, Dice said he estimates that nearly 50 companies have switched over to remote operation with their help, including thousands of operators who are now working from home.

“We continue to switch more each week,” Dice said. “Some of these are big — with 100,000 to 200,000 accounts — sending all of their operators home. So you are looking at 30-40 operators on a shift, and they all have to be on the same automation package, which is what we specialize in. What we excel in is that we are the IT team for the smaller to mid-size companies that can’t do this on their own, so we are helping them do that with our infrastructure and technology.”

Lupo noted that this disaster recovery service and assistance is not just available to DICE customers, as the company is working with others to provide the infrastructure and automation technology to get them running remotely as well.