Growing third-party central Mason undersells competition with $2 monitoring

Looks to demystify dealer/central station relationship
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Monday, February 1, 2010

KINGS PARK, N.Y.—Long Island-based Mason Monitoring is in its second year of operation, offering traditional, digital burg and fire monitoring for $2, effectively underselling the competition. Not only is price right, but according to Mason central station manager Mike Cannatella, Mason offers a different relationship for dealers. “It really doesn’t cost much to monitor digital accounts. GSM and other stuff costs a little extra, but digital monitoring doesn’t really cost that much. We’re not greedy,” Cannatella said. “We’re also really trying to demystify the relationship between the installer and the central station. In my experience there’s always been that very definitive ‘the operator’s job is this, and if you can’t figure that out we’re really not going to go beyond that.’ We’re trying to offer more support than a traditional central station would.”

Security Systems News reached out to a number of central station community members for comment about this low price point, but no one was inclined to go on the record with an opinion.

While Mason is located on Long Island, they really have a nationwide footprint, according to Cannatella. “We do two-way voice in Hawaii,” he said. “It works like a charm. It goes off, we pick up the phone and on the other end is someone in Hawaii saying ‘everything’s okay.’” Further, Cannatella said, Mason is growing. “We reach out to 10,000 people a week through fax and email marketing and that’s really started to pay off for us.”

Mason technical advisor Steven Steed said Mason is trying to bring value back to the industry. “You used to go to a gas station and ask for a fill up and they’d pop your hood and check the oil, top off the fluids, check your air, clean your windshield. We’re going back to the old days,” Steed said. “We’ll give a dealer a list of what they get for $2 and they’re telling me, ‘That’s more than I get now for $5.’ So basically it’s a matter of dollars and sense. It’s a matter of more value for less money.”

Cannatella said Mason was already a member of various industry associations, like the Long Island Alarm Association, and the New York Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. “We just got our application for CSAA membership yesterday, and we have a pending application to the Metropolitan Burglar and Fire Alarm Association,” Cannatella noted. While industry association memberships are good, Cannatella admits one missing approval could give some dealers pause. “We’re not UL-listed yet, but we’re hoping to get that done early next year,” he said. “Every step forward we take is taken with an eye toward UL-listing … The building is fully redundant and is already set up to be UL-approved. It’s just not something that, financially, we’re ready to go for yet. We can sink five grand into a lot of other places in our company before we go UL that will make it better.”

Cannatella said Mason was making an effort to look toward the impending IP future. “We’re really focusing on IP and GSM and making sure that we’re online and ready to go as far as IP and GSM devices goes,” Cannatella said. “These devices work and they work well. The writing is on the wall, and we’ll be ready.”