Pro One division, GE debut wireless alarm system

Ginsburg touts Multifamily 360's non-reliance on phone service. Says product will give subsidiary, Network Multifamily, competitive advantage
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

IRVING, Texas--Residential security giant Protection One expects a new product designed for its customers who live in apartment buildings to provide a workaround for a persnickety barrier in this niche market--the reliance of traditional alarm systems on traditional phone service, which apartment residents are using less and less.
In June, Protection One announced an exclusive agreement between its wholly owned subsidiary, Network Multifamily Security Corporation, and GE Security, where GE will provide its wireless security network and property management software to Network. The product, called Multifamily 360, has been launched in the 250 cities serviced by Network Multifamily.
"One of the roadblocks we were dealing with on the multi-family side, and I think it's going to be on the regular side as well, is things like cellular-only customers, Voice over IP, and [customers who use services like] Skype ... This [new product] really makes that a non-issue," said Richard Ginsburg, president of Protection One.
Ginsburg declined to release sales figures, but said in late June "thousands had been sold."
Whereas traditional alarm systems rely on a phone line to work, Ginsburg explained that Multifamily 360 is not connected in any way to a customer's phone service.
"It doesn't really matter to us whether they have cellular, Skype, or even if they have a traditional phone line. We're not going to use it. We wanted to take that piece out of it," he said.
Another benefit of the product is that it "enables us to protect customer sites that are occupied or not occupied, and actually keep track of who's going into those apartments. For instance, when those apartments are being shown to potential renters we can actually track how often they're being shown," Ginsburg said.
In addition, "the leasing agent now has in each apartment a working security system and panic button in the event that they're showing an apartment to someone and have some kind of emergency," he said.
Ginsburg said Multifamily 360 will give his company a significant competitive advantage in the multifamily market, a huge market, he added, "given that there are millions and millions of apartment buildings" and one where Protection One is the biggest provider of security.
Protection One has been working on the creation of this product for close to two years. Getting an exclusive agreement with GE was "very important to us and we're pleased to have it," he said.
Protection One will continue to work with GE to introduce other products to the market, he said.