UK CCTV solutions provider to move into U.S. market with remote monitoring

Remote monitoring offering part of a larger push?
Thursday, April 15, 2010

CHANTILLY, Va.—The AD Group of companies, which owns camera and recording equipment designer and manufacturer Dedicated Micros, has plans to begin remote monitoring U.S. accounts from its UK-based ARC—or “alarm receiving center” as they’re called in the UK—through its RemGuard division by early summer. RemGuard already remotely monitors accounts across the UK, Europe and Australia.

According to AD Group director of worldwide marketing Pauline Norstrom, initial plans call for RemGuard to remotely monitor a Dedicated Micros facility here to work out any wrinkles before a full rollout of the remote monitoring option to potential U.S. accounts. “RemGuard has been looking after installations in the UK, and some more remotely in Europe,” Norstrom said. “For some time we’ve felt that with the advent of broadband we could monitor anywhere.”

Peter Miller, president of Chicago-based security installer Security Systems, Inc.—which uses third-party monitoring—said he wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to using a third-party monitoring service that wasn’t based in the US, but that the decision would not be an easy one. “We have plenty of monitoring centers here in the U.S., so you’d need to look at your reasons, and if your reason is primarily price, then that’s not good enough,” Miller said. “You have to consider the benefit and the detriment to your customers. It’s not a matter of technology. In Canada, they’re monitoring the U.S. … the DoD monitors things all over the world.”

Robert Cohn, president of Chicago-based Programmable Systems, Inc., an installing dealer without its own central station, agreed: “As people became more comfortable dialing toll-free 800 numbers it didn’t matter any more whether our central station was local or across the country. No new customer asks, any more, where our central station is physically located,” Cohn said in an email interview. “I think that the key issue here will be whether the central station operator talks with an accent. If there is no accent, the customer will not care where the operator is physically located. If there is an accent the physical location will become an issue.”

Miller also noted the accent issue, saying it can be a problem even here in the United States if a person with a southern accent, say, is monitoring an account in the Northeast.

Norstrom said while the U.S. market was probably most familiar with AD Group company Dedicated Micros, there was a campaign on to broaden total brand awareness. “We are now heavily promoting AD Group and AD Network Video in the U.S. market, which take to market a combined solution, which could include remote monitoring,” Norstrom said.

Miller advised any U.S. dealer to develop a list of thorough questions to ask any potential service provider. “What’s the speed of their response? How many personnel do they have on-hand? What’s their redundancy? What happens in severe weather? Will there be accent issues?” Miller said. “These are questions that have to be looked at in my opinion, if you care about your business. It goes far beyond just price and where they’re located.”

Norstrom said RemGuard would bring the remote monitoring service to the US market in a couple different ways over the next few months. “We’d like to prove the Chantilly installation first … That should be done in a month or so and then we’d hope to be offering the service within a short period after that … Firstly, directly to integrators of the service. And that would form part of the AD Network Video offering,” Norstrom said. “So they would achieve a commission on the sale and then an ongoing revenue stream … We’re not sure how our U.S. customers will perceive a UK-monitored site. So we’ll have to test the water. Plan B would be to train local integrators to set up their own to our standards.”