Westec records deal

New central station to be model for company
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Thursday, September 1, 2005

DES MOINES, Iowa--When Westec InterActive opens the doors to its new central command center in late September, the facility will represent the new corporate image of the interactive monitoring firm.
Westec InterActive signed a long-term lease last month for the site here, concluding a search that began in June that also included the cities of Dallas, and Kansas City, Mo. The company expects to staff the central with up to 120 employees over the next three years.
The firm sought to help better coordinate time schedules with its customers located on the East Coast by locating in the Midwest. Until now, the company's Irvine, Calif., central station handled all of its monitoring.
"We're going to run most of the future growth out of Des Moines," said Darjon Bittner, vice president of technology development at Westec. "We will continue to run legacy systems in Irvine."
Bittner said the company's plans also include opening redundant command centers in Maryland and Dallas, where its technical division is based. He did not provide a timetable.
In late June, Westec secured $20 million in new financing for new product development and market expansion. New investor Clarity Partners provided $17.5 million and company owner Jerry Vento provided the remaining $2.5 million. Vento, a former telecommunications executive, purchased the company from Secom Co. Ltd., last fall.
Bittner said the new central command center will feature proprietary software that is specifically designed to work with the company's iVR product, an interactive video recorder that communicates directly back to the company's central.
The hardware integrates video, burglar, multiple audio zones, intelligent video, GPS and POS applications into one device. Among other hardware products, the iVR functions as its own DVR and burglary panel.
Bittner designed and built the iVR platform, which is available in three models ranging from small-business use to government environments. He said the product's biggest marketing tool is the ability to save customers money at time of install and on a month-to-month basis.
With high-speed networks ubiquitous in corporate environments, the iVR attaches to an existing digital network and eliminates at least two analog telephone lines typically required to handle audio and video feeds.
"The customer saves a lot of money by not putting in burglary panels," he said. "It also means they don't have to pay a recurring monthly fee (for telephone services)."
Additionally, the device performs diagnostic tests every five minutes. If a problem is determined, Westec technicians either perform a remote fix or dispatch a repairperson in a timely fashion, according to Bittner.
"We will know within five minutes," he said. "We'll have it repaired or a tech dispatched before you know there's a problem, that's the goal."