SSN readers united on PERS, but divided on how to implement it

Funding is an issue for launching PERS; 46 percent say they’d get into PERS if they had the capital
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—Readers view PERS as a good way to augment business, but are somewhat split on how best to incorporate PERS into their business, according to respondents to a recent SSN News Poll. 

One pivotal question, in particular, defines this divide: Is it best to have existing staff handle both security and PERS accounts, or to establish a PERS-only division? 

Channeling the product to market and training operators to deal with the needs of PERS customers are two challenges for security companies. Some analysts believe that establishing a PERS-only division is how alarm companies can compete with PERS-focused businesses, but that takes capital and may only be possible for larger alarm monitoring companies. 

The News Poll results reflect an awareness of this reality. Only 23 percent of readers believe a PERS-only division is the answer, as opposed to 54 percent who said existing staff should manage both alarm and PERS business. One reader said, “A separate division may be the answer,” adding that his security alarm company has a PERS landing page on its website that’s had “limited success.”

One reader said certain operational factors necessitated a separate division that could focus on the very specific needs of monitoring PERS customers. “Expect a lot of dispatch traffic on these accounts,” the reader said. “PERS customers tend to access the monitoring facility at a much higher rate than we anticipated. The dispatch takes a lot more time, and requires at least two operators to handle the alarm.”

Nearly 60 percent of respondents believe the PERS market, buoyed by favorable demographics, has considerable long-term viability as an RMR source. Forty-six percent of respondents said they would become a PERS provider if their company had the funding. 

“Senior citizen-related services hold promising revenue,” one reader said. “The population is aging and that segment will grow.”