Due diligence brings GPS service home

After two years of research, COPS Monitoring begins offering location services to its dealers
Tuesday, March 1, 2005

WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J. - Trust is one thing, truth is something entirely different. With GPS location services now offered by COPS Monitoring, fleet operators can locate employees and parents can know if their newly licensed teenage daughter is where she is supposed to be.

After two years of consideration, the company began beta testing the GPS service in December and officially launched it at the New Jersey Burglar & Fire Alarm Association Show in January.

“It shows we realize that monitoring is changing today, and it’s going beyond burglar alarms,” said executive vice president Don Maden, regarding what the new application says about third-party monitoring.

The COPS’ GPS service is based on a software and hardware package from Santa Monica, Calif.-based Guardian Mobile Monitoring. Dealers install a locating beacon on the item they want monitored, and then the dealer directs customers to COPS’ web site where they can establish parameters.

“The number one thing driving the tracking market is security and productivity,” according to Rob Goehring, vice president of management and marketing at Guardian.

By partnering with central stations such as COPS, Guardian has been able to leverage alarm dealers’ relationships with small- to large-sized businesses.

“There’s no other way to get to customers in this market,” he said.

COPS’ initial target for adoption is fleet operators and, as the demand for the service grows, individuals.

“Anyone with a small fleet on the road is a good target,” said Maden. “And, it’s an easy 30-minute install.”

COPS did not have to perform any upgrades to its central station in order to support the service, according to Maden, which operates proprietary monitoring software.

The company works with 1,500 dealers throughout the United States and monitors 250,000 accounts. With its headquarters here, where its central station is also located, the company operates a redundant central in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a satellite office in Grapevine, Texas.

In addition to the web site, the service features an application called Geo-fence, which enables customers to receive text messages for designated alerts.

For example, a fleet operator or anxious parent can request notification when a vehicle leaves a certain area, travels at a certain speed or moves at all. In addition, considering the size of the beacon, the presence of the device can be revealed or not.

“It’s a small enough install that people won’t know it’s there,” said Maden.

For dealers, COPS has set a price of $500 per unit and $20 per unit for nationwide monitoring. Installation and monitoring costs can be marked up by the dealer. The central station encourages dealers to target not just existing customers for the service, but also new ones, as well.