iWatch keeps eye on Pacific N.W.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

BEAVERTON, Ore.--In 2004, Dave Foglio decided that there was a need in the Northwest for a "first-class central station." His company had a history as an installing dealer and "that's what we felt made us unique. Our operators here are constantly interacting with technicians. It's been a huge advantage, especially with smaller dealers."
In 1989, Foglio became a Honeywell First Alert dealer and founded Alarm Response Services. "We started out as a guard company 18 years ago, and have been in alarm response for the past 17."
After opening its doors in late 2005, iWatch has steadily increased its account portfolio.
The company now monitors about 2,000 accounts in the greater Portland and Seattle metro areas, 95 percent of which are commercial, and "we can dispatch, monitor and respond if we service an account," said Foglio.
New client Mike Kobelin, vice president of sales for Selectron, recently switched his company's accounts to iWatch for monitoring: "We feel that iWatch has their central staffed so that their operators aren't overwhelmed. They spend a lot of time talking to the end user before authorities are dispatched or we are called. They have really well trained people." Kobelin also said he liked the full-service aspect of iWatch's approach. "[Switching] has definitely increased our RMR."
Another service iWatch offers to its dealers is alarm ordinance notification. "I receive information on the ordinances from many sources out there in areas looking at verified response," said Foglio, whose company has "about 25 cars out a night in Portland and Seattle." He has been known to receive calls from police departments "to see how we do what we do. We've become known as a resource," said Foglio.
To this end, Foglio hired Derek Bliss, director of business development, to follow alarm ordinances in each city in the company's area. "We said, 'OK, verified response is a trend. How do we help our dealers?'" said Bliss. "One, we try to influence the way the ordinances are written in terms of fines and financial implications. And two, by tracking ordinances, nationwide, in the states where our dealers are at." Bliss said iWatch's main goal is to "protect the interests of the users and alarm industry."
Foglio concurred, "By knowing what the ordinances are, we're able to help our dealers in those areas, and tell them, 'Here's how it's going to affect you.'
"Then iWatch offers solutions, such as finding a private responder, or notifying its dealers' clients," said Foglio. That way, "It isn't a surprise to us when these ordinances go into affect, we are well aware of them. We feel it's a huge advantage to the dealers."