More details of Rogers home security service emerge - Page 2 FeaturedWritten by Linda Johnson 31 August 2011
Rogers Communications new home monitoring system may be a sign that it’s not enough anymore for an alarm system just to prevent break-ins. The system has to be able to turn on the lights and turn up the heat before you come home.
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But even with bundling, Rogers venture is not a sure thing. Industry expert Ivan Spector said that, though telecom companies have been eager to jump into the home alarm industry lately, it has not often worked out. In Canada, Bell made some acquisitions, but ended by selling the business to ADT. In the U.S., Cincinnati Bell recently also sold off its security business unit.
“While there is no question that bundling services to a client — or customer entanglement — means those clients are less likely to switch providers, it will be interesting to see how Rogers fares in a fragmented, highly customer service intensive industry,” said Spector, president of Sentinel Alarm.
A spokesperson for ADT said his company is well positioned to meet Rogers’ challenge.
While ADT always takes competition seriously, Bob Tucker said, they have been in the marketplace for almost a year and already have an excellent track record in 24/7 monitoring.
ADT launched its own remote video monitoring and home automation service, ADT Pulse, in the U.S. last October, and in May in Canada. In the U.S., sales have exceeded expectations, he said. And while it is too early to know exactly how it’s going here, the company is pleased with the response they’ve had from customers so far.
“We’re happy with the way it has been rolling out and the strong feedback about how they’re able to use it in their daily lives and actually be able to save a little bit of money, in part by controlling lights and thermostats,” Tucker said.
ADT also provides excellent service, which many cable and telecom companies fail to do, he added.
“We feel that we provide a better level of service which, I think is almost as important as the monitoring we provide,” he said.
“We’re watching what they’re doing, but we also feel very good about the products and service we offer our customers.”
Tucker said ADT has an long-held reputation for monitoring and has extensive infrastructure, including eight monitoring centres in North America and more than 3,000 emergency dispatch operators, who handle 33 million alarm signals a year.
“That’s just huge, and nobody can match that, and we think that’s one of the key things that differentiates us from Rogers and other competitors in this space,” he said.
But Pattinson was at pains to stress that Rogers prepared fully for the launch of its monitoring system. He said the company had a “dedicated team” of more than 750 employees, who worked on the system for more than five years. They also did a lot of pre-testing in real-home situations.
For its central monitoring station, Rogers partnered with an emergency dispatch centre, Northern 911, which has been in business for more than 20 years, Pattinson said.
The system is highly secure, he added. About 95 per cent of alerts are observational — emails and casual home events— and can be accessed only by the person designated by the alert rule. Only critical alerts, such as intrusion alarms, carbon monoxide leaks and power outages, go to the monitoring station.
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