EMERgency24 celebrates 50 years in business

Company execs look back on company growth and pivotal technologies
 - 
Monday, September 17, 2018

DES PLAINES, Ill.—EMERgency24, a wholesale monitoring company headquartered here, is now marking its 50th anniversary. Over those years the company has added on several locations, seen sweeping technological changes and grown steadily.

Dante Monteverde Sr. started Alarmtronics Inc. in 1967, a company that installed alarm systems and monitored for itself and other companies, in Chicago. In April 1971, it changed its name to Emergency Data Computer Center Inc., coinciding with a new exclusive focus on wholesale alarm monitoring for its customers. Then, in 1977, the company’s name changed again to EMERgency24.

“We had been monitoring the entire time the company had been in existence, but that's when it really became official,” EM24’s PR manager and Waukesha branch manager Kevin Lehan told Security Systems News, adding that 1977 was when the company “changed the name, rebranded, really started to market nationwide.”

The company has had several locations in its history. In 1980, EMERgency24 opened its first fully redundant secondary monitoring facility in the Washington D.C. area. It opened its Brea, Calif., branch—outside of Los Angeles—in 1998. Over the years the business has also had locations in San Francisco and Detroit. The company moved into its current Des Plaines, Ill., headquarters in 2010.

The company built its primary UL back-up facility, located in Waukesha, Wis., in 2011. This monitoring center is about 90 miles from its Illinois headquarters, on a separate power grid.

A large benefit of having the company’s primary back-up facility about an hour and a half’s drive is that if a disaster affected its headquarters, much of EMERgency24’s Illinois employees would be able to drive to the Waukesha office, Lehan said.

“This balance works well. We have ample capacity in each one of our branches. We man each branch 24 hours a day, with multiple people in the branch. But, we could certainly expand our capacity with existing stations and with our infrastructure we have the ability to add additional stations,” Lehan said.

Dante Monteverde Jr. is currently EMERgency24’s online marketing director and has been involved with the company for more than 25 years. Monteverde Jr. shared a core focus from Monteverde Sr.: “Training, training, training. You have to have your call center, your operators prepared for any sort of call that comes in.”

When it comes to notable technological advances in the past half century, ISDN—integrated services digital network, which grew in the early 1990’s—served as a large catalyst for alarm functions, according to Monteverde Jr. With the technology EMERgency24 was able to receive voice and data, such as where the call was coming from as well as the end user’s account number, he said. “It was super critical in our growth,” Monteverde Jr. said.

“That would probably be the biggest technology breakthrough in our 50-year history,” Lehan said.

While ISDN expanded on the capabilities of the alarm system, the Internet substantially added to the amount of information and connectivity available, Lehan pointed out. “We can share more information with our dealers, with the alarm contractors. The subscribers can get more information out of their alarm system.”

Additionally, Lehan highlighted the cost decline of 1-800 numbers in the early 1980s as a key element of EMERgency24’s growth. “Dante [Monteverde Sr.] had been providing alarm monitoring services and really built a nice business in the Chicagoland area, from ’67 to the early ’70s. … With the cost of phone lines dropping, he was able to then offer this service nationwide.”

EMERgency24 works to stay on the cutting edge of technology, Lehan said. “We want to always be able to offer the newest technologies as they’re coming to market. … We do that by continually investing in people who have the ability and the vision to see how they could use technology to enhance our subscriber experience.”

All of EMERgency24’s development is in house, Monteverde Jr. said. “We don’t know what technology is going to be like a year from now, three years from now, five years—20 years from now,” Monteverde Jr. said. “We envision ourselves being able to adapt, evolve with whatever technology comes up, and not be pigeon-holed in [focusing on one technology]. … We are flexible in our vision for the future.”

Lehan said: “We continue to look for new ways to give our alarm contractor customers the ability to sell more services to their customers, which makes them more profitable. … That’s how we’ve been successful for many, many years.”