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AvantGuard’s Justin Bailey Takes Part in Monitoring Roundtable

Mandee Thomas
Feb 27, 2019 8:04:00 AM

The Monitoring Association (TMA) recently held a meeting involving experts in the monitoring industry, including AvantGuard’s very own Justin Bailey, in order to discuss some of the biggest challenges they face, the repercussions of DIY technology, and what companies in the monitoring space can do to set themselves apart.

Participants in this unique roundtable included Justin Bailey, President & COO, AvantGuard Monitoring Centers; Amy Becht, director of central stations, Vivint; Rod Coles, president, Bold Perennial; Cliff Dice, president & CEO, Dice Corp.; Henry Laik, strategic accounts director, Telguard, a Division of Telular Corp.; and Brandon Niles, director of operations, Acadian Monitoring Services.

Biggest Industry Challenges

Every business has it’s pain points, and the monitoring industry is no exception. In the roundtable discussion, almost everyone in attendance pointed out a different struggle, highlighting the variety of issues the industry faces. Here are a few that came up for discussion:

    • False Alarms
      Reducing false dispatches is always a focus for central stations. Amy Becht discussed the challenge of implementing new technology in order to prevent false alarms and the impact it has on subscribers.

      We focus on false alarms because they have a ripple effect. Experiencing false alarms tends to reduce customer usage, which leads to attrition. Lower false alarm rates reduce servicing costs and lower the impact of labor requirements.Amy Becht
      • Dealer Education
        Having improved tool available to your dealers is one thing, but getting them to implement them is another. Brandon Niles talked about the undertaking of dealer education.

        “Dealer education—getting the tools we have from our different automation providers and letting the dealers know it’s at their fingertips, pushing them, incentivizing them to use it.”Brandon Niles
      • Keeping up With Technology
        From network expansion, to the change in focus from hardware to software, staying on the cutting edge of technology is definitely a challenge for those in the monitoring industry. Keeping up with technology advancements was a point of concern for multiple leaders in attendance.

        Rod Coles touched on the need to expand his business's technology department in order to stay relevant.
"It used to be that we just had programmers and support guys. Now, we have to have people that deal with compliance, people that deal with security, people that deal with IT. There’s so much more to a technology company than there used to be.”Rod Coles

Henry Laik brought up the need for monitoring technology to be flexible in order to meet the needs of its dealers. Because of this necessity, his company has had to revise their technology strategy greatly.

"That’s a challenge for us to shift from being almost 100% hardware focused to becoming a lot more software focused. It takes a different skill set. It takes different types of engineers that we employ. It becomes challenging to take people out of their comfort zone, and they really don’t know how to manage that side of the business."Henry Laik
      • The Devaluation of Professional Monitoring
        Undercutting the competition by dropping prices is a challenge for many industries, including professional monitoring. Justin Bailey discussed the troublesome effect this “race to the bottom” has on business.
“There’s a lot of costs being in business that go beyond our core skill and what we’re selling, and we need to stop eroding that as an industry. We need to really make sure that we’re being efficient and effective, but also providing value in the chain and being properly compensated for that value in a reasonable way.”Justin Bailey

The Effect of DIY on the Monitoring Industry

Discussing new DIY technologies available to consumers can seem like a sore topic in the professional monitoring industry, but when the subject was brought up, the conversation took a different turn than most would think.

As these industry leaders discussed the matter, it became clear that DIY should be seen as a new opportunity rather than a scornful competitor.

“While some people view DIY as a threat, I see it as a wakeup call that the technology has changed sufficiently that you do not always need highly skilled installers.”Henry Laik

Coles brought up the point that DIY technology simply means that there are more opportunities out there for connecting, and that this can lead to great industry expansion if businesses are open to it.

“DIY is great for our industry, absolutely great, because it’s bringing more people in,” he states, “There’s just more things that we can connect.”Rod Coles

Becht believes that “there will be enough space in the market for everybody,” and that companies simply need to determine the kind of target market they want to focus on.

Bailey brought up the point that the simplicity of DIY is something to be admired, and that in every industry, there is a still a need for experts.

“Still, there’s always going to be a space for technicians and experts to service people.”Justin Bailey

Making Your Company Stand Out

Every thought-leader in attendance pointed some unique ways that their company is finding a way to differentiate themselves in the monitoring industry. The dialogue encompassed features and distinctions ranging from new product development, to personalization options for dealers, to investing in infrastructure.

AvantGuard’s Justin Bailey made it known that AvantGuard's main focus is on its technology and people. He talked about the company's unique cloud monitoring option that is available for companies that want to upscale their own monitoring centers.

Read the SSI Article

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