The new future of monitoring

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

As technology continues to develop, and as communication and security needs continue to merge, the role of the central station will become ever more important to today's society.

People live their lives at a fast pace, and they require technologies that allow them to do so with convenience and security. In this era of cell phones, pagers and long-distance commutes, the security industry must continue to develop solutions for today's public.

In trying to achieve these solutions, the alarm industry will realize new heights. In previous years, it was sufficient for stationary assets, such as homes and businesses, to be monitored while they were unattended. People felt secure knowing that their homes and places of work were protected while they were away.

Now, with the changes in our way of life, the need for protection has extended, and stationary assets require constant supervision, as do mobile assets such as vehicles or even people. The industry has opened up beyond the traditional block-and-mortar protection of businesses and homes, and in the coming years will be viewed as full-service information monitoring.

The future of the industry lies in monitoring not only homes and businesses, but people, vehicles and cell phones. Customers will know that their alarm company can protect them while they are in their car, walking to or from work, at a football game in the center of thousands of people and on vacation thousands of miles away from home.

They will place devices in children's backpacks and clothing, and have the peace of mind of knowing that their children are safe and can be found with a simple telephone call to the central station.

Telematics and Global Positioning Monitoring Systems (GPS) allow us to pinpoint the precise location of anyone or anything for security verification and other purposes. Some systems have been enabled with two-way communication, much like the security industry did with alarm panels years ago.

GPS monitoring offers not only alarm and panic response, but also concierge services so customers can find their way when lost, or find a hotel or restaurant in an unfamiliar place. Already, central stations have the ability to receive events and respond digitally, as well as log information. A monitoring system does not necessarily need to monitor only alarms, it can gather information from sites and store it for user retrieval over the Internet at a later time. This ability is unique, and puts central stations ahead of the advancing technological wave.

As needs continue to change, central stations will grow larger, expand on current systems and provide capabilities beyond traditional monitoring. These changes will allow security companies both large and small to move into new markets and venture into new industries. The influx of the hundreds of thousands of GPS enabled vehicles and cell phones requiring response services will make today's large security companies seem average by comparison.

With the benefits Telematics and GPS Monitoring will offer, central stations will be able to provide their dealers and customers with a new avenue of advanced services. The mobile security offered by GPS monitoring has proven to be of great interest, and will generate more business and increased revenue for the security industry. Today, central stations may be monitoring homes, businesses and vehicles, but the alarm industry of tomorrow may be monitoring the routes of important packages, the whereabouts of our children, and the safety of our airlines.

Cliff Dice is president of Dice Corp., a central station software manufacturer based in Essexville, Mi.