Quality in-house monitoring requires a significant investment in time, technology, and resources that many proprietary call centers have difficulty maintaining. Even companies that have been in business for many years can find it challenging to continuously keep their monitoring technology updated to meet ever-changing UL and TMA standards. Keeping their operations and IT departments properly staffed and trained can also pose a new set of challenges for in-house monitoring centers.
After 50 years of successfully serving their dealers, Advanced Security Systems determined that the demands of running their own in-house monitoring center was no longer in the best interest of their customers or consistent with their business plan. In 2019 they began their search for a wholesale monitoring provider they could trust to provide their valued customers with the very best care and service available in the industry.
Advanced Security has been an industry leader and integrator of comprehensive security services in northern California for 50 years. They install, integrate, and monitor intrusion alarms, camera systems, access control panels, and fire alarms as part of a one-stop-shop for their customers. They have three offices located in Eureka, Santa Rosa and Crescent City. What has set them apart since they opened in the 1970s is their ties to the local community. Advanced Security Systems is constantly looking for ways to give back to their community by participating in local charity events and building relationships with area partners, businesses, and residents. The trust they have built within their community and surrounding areas, along with their caring service and grounded company culture, has propelled them to become one of the most trusted security integrators in region.
Advanced Security Systems’ location posed unique issues for their monitoring operations. Especially in recent years, the area has been prone to wildfires which can lead to mass evacuations of those areas. Another issue they were dealing with was the rolling blackouts by the area’s power company to help prevent summer fires. Both the fires and blackouts presented unique challenges providing their customers with consistent, reliable monitoring services, especially during summer months.
In addition to these challenges, Advanced Security Systems’ proprietary monitoring center faced other obstacles. Managing and maintaining the changing standards of technology that TMA and UL require was expensive. These updates can cost a business hundreds of thousands of dollars to sustain.
Maintaining operator coverage with a smaller staff was also challenging. All it would take was a few sick employees and that could leave their monitoring center in a serious bind and their customers vulnerable. These types of issues would keep Chuck Petrusha, President and CEO of Advanced Security Systems and Ian Schatz, Operations Manager, up at night and would ultimately lead them to find a reliable wholesale monitoring partner.
Wanting an unbiased search for monitoring partners, Chuck and Ian sought the help of Kirk McDowell, President of MacGuard Security Advisors. Together, the group created a list of potential monitoring partners that could meet the criteria that Advanced Security Systems deemed critical. The Advanced Security Systems team visited each monitoring center to evaluate their capabilities and determine if they would be a good fit for their long-term objectives. Of all the monitoring centers visited, AvantGuard was the only one that was conducting remote monitoring with their operators, which illustrated their innovation and preparedness for the changes to come.
Their search began in 2019, right as the COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up. During their tour of AvantGuard’s headquarters in Ogden, UT, they were very impressed with the AG team and facility. While there, they learned that AG was the first monitoring center to meet UL standards for remote monitoring, enabling them to keep their employees working safely from home during the pandemic without interruption of service for their customers. The preparation, planning, and technology required to initiate AG’s pandemic safety plan impressed the Advanced Security Systems team.
AvantGuard was also one of the few monitoring centers that used SMS to contact customers during signal events. Gartner, one of the world’s leading research firms, discovered that only 30% of people answer their phone calls; yet open rates for text messages is 98%. The leadership at Advanced Security Systems recognized and appreciated the foresight and implementation of new technology even when the rest of the industry was hesitant to adopt new methods of communicating with customers.
Ian Schatz was impressed with the investment of technology including (at the time) two fully redundant monitoring centers. AvantGuard now has eight monitoring centers in the U.S. and Canada, expanding their reach to protect the safety and wellbeing of over 1.7 million subscribers. AG’s commitment to and investment in technology and resources completely put to rest Advanced Security Systems’ concerns and issues caused by rolling blackouts and fires in northern California. Furthermore, Ian’s insecurities about the transition were put at ease when he met with the Implementation team at AG.
Advanced Security Systems had been preparing for the transition for months prior to their search for a monitoring partner, understanding the significant work the transition would entail. The Implementation team at AG was equally prepared and discussed their transition plan and how they would follow up with Ian and his team every step of the way. AG’s preparation and knowledge showed the same level of dedication, compassion, and caring that Advanced Security Systems is known for giving their own employees and customers. “You could tell the transition was just as important to AvantGuard as it was to us. They had answers to all our questions,” said Schatz. By November of 2020, their entire customer base had been transferred over to AvantGuard Monitoring Centers.
Prior to their partnership with AG, Advanced Security Systems struggled to maintain their UL listing to guarantee their customers the best service possible. It was difficult from a staffing, installation and financial perspective to constantly keep up with changing technology standards.
Regarding their partnership with AG, Chuck Petrusha stated, “Their technology and commitment to the dealer was a game changer and helped us make the decision to go with AvantGuard.” Chuck acknowledged that the leadership team at Advanced Security Systems no longer worries about disruptions in their monitoring service, having the confidence in the infrastructure and redundancy offered through AvantGuard.
When asked about the biggest benefit of partnering with AvantGuard, Ian Schatz commented, “I can sleep at night knowing that AG is redundant in multiple locations, and that they even had a plan figured out before COVID hit. Plus, when they have an announcement or new feature rolling out, we get notified. It really provides peace of mind being partnered with AvantGuard.”
Advanced Security Systems has established a culture of caring and doing everything in their power to provide the best working environment for their employees while keeping their customers and communities safe. These high standards made their search for an outside monitoring service provider one of the toughest decisions in 50 years of doing business. But today, Petrusha and Schatz claim that partnering with AvantGuard was one of the best decisions they ever made. They found a monitoring partner in AG who shares the same culture of caring, and the people and technology to help Advanced Security grow their business and reputation as one of the most trusted security integrators in the region.
Contact us today to partner with the TMA 2022 Monitoring Center of the Year.
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AvantGuard Monitoring Centers, LLC. | P.O. Box 15022 | Ogden, UT 84415 | Office: (877) 206-9141 | Fax: (801) 781-6133