How Professional Remote Monitoring Will Help to Ensure the Quickest Police Response
In this article we discuss professional remote monitoring services and debunk the confusing myths around low-budget remote and self-monitored security.
Security technology and remote monitoring expert, Stephen Lord explains the true benefits that can only be achieved with professional remote monitoring. Plus, the latest announcement that will help installers compete against low-end solutions.
How is professional remote monitoring better than “self-install” and “self-monitoring” solutions?
Four words that make us in the professional security industry shudder are “self-install” and “self-monitoring”. Why? Because it really refers to the DIY home security systems market, which is expected to be worth over $11.35 billion globally in 2027.
There is nothing wrong with this of course, in fact, it is reassuring to see such growth in interest and more people investing in their safety – something we all believe to be very important. But we are seeing more new entrants to the market who are advertising professional quality security systems and remote monitoring services that aren’t quite what they seem.
Here is where the issue lies for many professional and accredited security providers. There can be vast differences in the technology and level of protection provided by a professionally installed system and remote monitoring service provider, compared to one of these DIY home security systems.
Some of the key reasons to choose professional security installation and remote monitoring are:
Quality of installation – trained professionals ensure the system is working as it should and reduce false alarms.
A proper maintenance program reduces false alarms by spotting faults early.
Ongoing support and troubleshooting directly from the people who installed the system.
Option for police response - the URN system mandates professional installation and appropriate equipment.
An accredited monitoring centre with procedures to ensure the right people are called, and 24/7 availability of well-trained staff and the facility to escalate calls to the police where a URN is in place.
Considering the strong growth of this market, time is of the essence for security experts and professional installers to make these distinctions clear to their customers. This is especially vital for businesses in the UK, as crime cost British businesses over £2.2 billion in the retail industry alone in 2019 (BRC).
We know that once anyone goes down the DIY route they lose all the benefits of using a properly regulated and accredited installer and remote monitoring centre. We believe that the companies out there that are claiming they provide the quickest police response for their monitoring will come undone eventually.
How can professional security providers compete with these “low-end” solutions?
One of the benefits of being a fully accredited ARC (Alarm Receiving Centre) is that we contact blue light services using ex-directory control room numbers, rather than joining the 999 system with everybody else. ARCs that take quality seriously will only ever use the control rooms where a URN is in place, but we know some will call 999 in a variety of circumstances and advertise as “police response”.
Even worse, some new entrants to the market are advertising “professional monitoring” but don’t have an ARC in the UK or they’ll despatch a guard who then calls the police from a mobile phone. Some of them will push people down the route of emergency contacts being notified first – but would you really want to send a friend or family member into somewhere you know is dangerous?
A professional installer will use a guarding or keyholding solution in full consultation with a customer in the appropriate circumstances. But we are not talking about professional solutions here.
Changes to the professional remote monitoring market will certainly have a huge impact in ensuring an entirely different level of service and will help to ensure the quickest police response.
Introducing ECHO-connected police forces
ECHO-connected police forces ensure the quickest police response in attending your property, should the need arise. Furthermore, only certificated Intruder and Hold-up alarm systems provided by approved installers can deliver an ECHO-connected service.
How does it work? Utilising secure police preferred networks, your Intruder or Hold-up alarm system is primed with a state-of-the-art fast and robust connection via the ECHO platform, to alert the police in the event of a confirmed alarm activation.
ECHO will mandate that an ARC must transmit the alarm data electronically to the police using ECHO’s own data link, no more phone calls. Two police forces have given hard deadlines by which they will stop accepting ARC phone calls and require everything to go through ECHO.
At Southern & Northern Monitoring Services, we are in regular contact with ECHO and will be ready to go live well in advance of that deadline. I can imagine many of these low-end security providers are now starting to wonder how they will answer questions about being “ECHO ready”.
It’s hard to be certain, and time will tell, but I think a lot of providers will have to reassess their model based on this.
ECHO has already said, “Police estimates indicate a saving of up to 4 minutes in response times, which could prove critical in an emergency situation.”
ECHO and professional remote monitoring in action
Let’s imagine a common scenario, like a break-in at night, and compare the two approaches. ECHO has already said, “Police estimates indicate a saving of up to 4 minutes in response times, which could prove critical in an emergency situation”. As soon as we are ECHO ready, all our customers get the advantage of that faster response time – and we monitor over 100,000 devices in the UK.
Other customers and anyone using a low-end non-ECHO solution will have to wait for an operator to call a security guard, despatch them to the site, wait for them to drive there (with no blue lights), wait for them to search the property, and then try and make a 999 call. For a low-risk site that might be OK but it’s not the police response that the customer may be expecting if they believed the advertising.
One of these offers a professional, fully-integrated and fast experience, the same can't be said of the low-end option. Does the customer really know what they are getting? A professional solution will have an escalation procedure so that if there is no response from the keyholders something still gets done, a phone notification is easily lost.
Some customers won’t mind, of course, and will go for the cheapest option out there. But it’s our job to convince them that self-install (done badly), self-monitoring (lost in the sea of notifications on your phone and that’s if they haven’t been switched off because of nuisance false alarms) and police response without a URN isn’t the way to go.
The launch of ECHO reaffirms the guarantee that professionally installed security systems and accredited professional remote monitoring services provide. Homes and businesses can be better protected and without it being too costly.
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