SentryNet casts wide, develops edge

Company's central stations can operate separately, serve as back-up
Thursday, September 1, 2005

GREENVILLE, Miss.--The two central stations operated by SentryNet can function independently and seamlessly provide redundancy services back-and-forth as a result of a project that is now nearing an end.
Company President David Avritt, who started the endeavor three years ago, set out with two goals: to protect either central in the event of any disaster, especially weather related, and promote the locations to dealers as regional monitoring centers.
"We firmly feel this is the next wave of central station monitoring," said Avritt. "We just feel it's good business." Now, the company can promote to dealers available services and a fully operational station near their territories.
SentryNet can also internally reroute calls between locations without any external help, as a result of the project. The company can do this because it installed necessary hardware and worked with the telephone company to fulfill its needs.
"What we're doing in the process is developing more independence," said Michael Joseph, vice president of operations. "We counted on the telecommunications carriers to do a lot for us."
Either central can track the incoming traffic in the other, as well. With this being the case, station managers can decide to bring calls in to reduce loads at the other. This could be a result of heavy traffic flow or the loss of services due to a storm.
The project also included further development on proprietary central station software. This platform, which enables these applications, is based on source code purchased from ABM and is constantly enhanced by the four full-time IT professionals on staff.
Avritt opened his first central station in 1986; and 10 years later, between the one here and the other in Pensacola, Fla., monitors 90,000 accounts and works with 500 dealers. Within the next five years, he doesn't rule out the option of opening a third station.
His philosophy is that a central station should do approximately 80 percent of its monitoring no more than 500 miles from its front door. Each market has its own flavor that requires individual attention. Additionally, a local presence provides a marketing advantage.
"The third would be easier," said Avritt. "It's not the most economical way to do it, but it boils down to customer service."
Although the move is likely, he has not committed to a timetable. He did say the next move would involve either coast. The company offers national monitoring, thus any move wouldn't expand its current services.