Metrodial invests in future technologies

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

HICKSVILLE, N.Y.--Metrodial, a third party central station with the majority of its accounts in the tri-state area, added video monitoring, GPS and disaster recovery software in January.
The new additions to the central come at a time when Andrew Lowitt, vice president of dealer relations said, "We are finally at the point were the technology is mature enough."
The central wanted to invest in technologies that are now becoming the mainstay of the market, such as those that are IP-enabled, and make those available to its 50,000 customers.
Which is why the central invested in video monitoring by partnering with Open Eye of Spokane, Wash., a hardware and software provider, said Lowitt. "Dealers can install DVRs out in the field and we can remotely dial in and either do a guard tour, or can dial on demand and let a customer know what is going on."
The same business process was followed for adding GPS by teaming with service provider Guardian Mobile Monitoring of Santa Monica, Calif.: "The switchover from analog to digital is finally here." Lowitt said that the pricing on the product is now at a point were it is sellable. In years past, the product selection was either analog or very expensive. "Now it's digital, relatively inexpensive and sellable to the point that we feel comfortable marketing to our dealers."
The GPS location services, which tracks fleets and provides customers real-time information, is a "way to strengthen our existing relationship with our dealers," said Lowitt, especially those with commercial customers.
In the next year, Metrodial plans to offer additional panic features with the GPS service. For example, a driver within a fleet could hit a panic button, creating a signal to a central station operator.
The central also added disaster recovery software from its automation vender Dice. Before the software, "we were running copies, and backing up our database on a regular basis, but we did not have a second site," he said.
Now, Dice does a "regular backup of our software if necessary. We call them up to flip the switch to start forwarding our calls."
When deciding what kind of products and services to mix in the central, Lowitt said, "We all realize that this is the future and the future is here now and we need to take advantage."