Move with the times.  “We also have fewer horses and bayonets” B. Obama

 

This is the third (and last) part of a series of articles about the improvement of Alarm Response Times through automation. The first part focused on the enhanced safety of people and property; the second briefly discussed the time-saving benefits of response automation. Now we will turn to other gains that, together with those described in the previous articles, result in a massive competitive advantage.

 

Even today, in an era where electronic communications are readily available, many companies continue to use the phone as their preferred method to transfer information. The advantages of verbal communication in a business environment are great, and they are much needed to convey complex messages. But they do have disadvantages too.

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Transferring information speech to text (the method used by most alarm and patrol companies when exchanging job information) is prone to error. We are taught that when we’re kids, through games like Chinese Whispers or the Broken Phone, and we’re reminded as adults again and again in any course of sales, customer care, and the like. And still, while this problem is obvious and undeniable, companies in this industry rely primarily on the phone.

 

      Electronic messaging is not a trend; it’s here to stay.   There are dozens of applications used by younger generations in particular.  The price Facebook paid for Whatsapp, the leading application of its kind, leaves no doubt:  US$22billion.

Transferring messages electronically avoids transcription and re-keying mistakes. For those concerned about the grammar skills of some staff, SMART has a feature named Standard Phrases that allows users to select a phrase from a list instead of typing similar phrases over and over again. There are several ways to communicate between control rooms, staff, monitoring companies, service providers, etc. Here’s a sum up of what could be considered standard practice:

 

  • Alarm monitoring companies: they normally use SmartNet Client. Sometimes it runs in the background as it is integrated with alarm monitoring software.
  • Service Providers: most use SMART and some use SmartNet Client. SMART users benefit from hundreds of extra features.
  • Mobile Patrols (service providers’ staff): normally they receive jobs from SMART by SMS or e-mail. The patrolman replies using some simple codes that get automatically uploaded in SMART. A native app is on its way!
  • Service Providers (operating as subcontractors): they are normally equipped with either SMART, SmartNet, or they receive jobs by SMS / e-mail, in the same way as mobile patrols. Again, the app might replace the SMS/e-mail in the near future.

 

There are other benefits we are frequently told about. For instance, our clients’ sales staff claim that having an automated response procedure in place is helpful for them to get customers on board. This is something they can prove during the sales calls with the simple help of a laptop and a phone. Medium and large size companies also point out that telecom charges decrease significantly as the number of phone calls falls.

 

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