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Company News | 3/15/2019

Navigating the Changing Landscape of Alarm Monitoring

Cliff Dice speaks to Security Sales & Integration about tackling challenges in a changing industry and what DICE is doing to stand out.

With the availability of the latest automation tools, new video and cloud capabilities, and advanced environmental, medical, and IoT technology, the security alarm industry has never had more opportunities. But with increased competition from some of the world’s tech giants, many security professionals are having to combat new challenges ranging from do-it-yourself options designed for end users to dealer consolidation shrinking the industry and profit margins. Scott Goldfine from Security Sales and Integration recently published an interview with some of the top experts in security monitoring weighing in on what it takes to stay ahead in a changing marketplace and what they’re doing to combat challenges from DIY monitoring.

Below is an excerpt featuring DICE Corporation president and CEO Cliff Dice:

What are some of the top challenges facing your business and how is your company adjusting to that?

Our challenges are networks and fiber strands. To give you a for instance, when we started hosting, we had 50 megabytes, then we went to 100 megabytes, and then we took the network to 100 gig with point to point between the centers. Then, as voice expanded, every voice call is anywhere from 84 to 87k both directions. We had to keep expanding that, and now with cameras, the average camera is 200k per second to 400k per second up to the Cloud.

We are now building a 100-gig backbone network and we are pulling network interfaces, so if I’ve got clients in Utah, I’ve got to have a network meet point. I’ve got to get that data back into the cloud center. I might have to run it all the way to a carrier hotel in Chicago and then bridge it back to the network, and so we’re building out our network, which is actually building out our value.

In some cases, we’re buying the rights to a strand of fiber, let’s say from Denver to Chicago to the carrier hotel, to connect to our network. So as we build this network out, we’re building a tremendous value in the company, but what we’re also doing is allowing the alarm industry to connect those sites. So if somebody like Acadian brings a dealer that’s got 200 stores, we can connect all 200 stores across the United States and bring those camera connections into those centers.

The challenge is keeping up and ahead of that so we don’t run out of pipe. That’s been the hardest part because we never anticipated the Cloud center growing as rapidly as it did, and taking in as much of the industry and the vendors. We are literally taking in a lot of the vendors in the alarm industry that sell to everyone because of what we’re doing ahead of them. We’re pretty happy with where we’re going, it’s just very difficult to build those routes out and gather the cable and sign the multiyear contracts when you’re doing it for what’s going to come, and you have to start paying for it right away.

Let’s discuss the DIY and MIY push into the industry. How do you see it ultimately affecting the industry? Do you see an upside? A downside?

Take our cloud video recording solution as an example. We built it to be self-installing. The first dealer who was the beta shipped our gateway out with the first customer being 50 parking garages across the United States. When they had their installer plug it into the customer’s network, our software found the cameras and punched it through, and it started recording. They called us and asked, “Now what do we do?” We go, “We’re already receiving a recording. You don’t have to do anything.” They’re like, “What do you mean?”

It was foreign to the alarm industry that it would just do that. They are used to installing. We’re like, “You didn’t have to send an installer. You could have just shipped it and let the end user plug it into the network. It would have done it automatically for you.” As more and more technologies like that are built, both on the alarm censor side and particularly on the video side, because I think the video side is going to take over the sensors, you won’t need these installers and things going out.

I think customers will install their products and get on a portal, turning on their own services, and then if they want monitoring, great. If they don’t, they want it to come to their phone, they’ll do that. Some people will want professional monitoring, some won’t, but it’ll all be up to the customer. It’ll be their choice and you won’t have to have installers go out and do these things.

How does your company differentiate itself in the marketplace?

We are an infrastructure provider, so this year we generated more revenue dealing with alarm industry vendors than dealers. A lot of people use our software and our API sets to build other software. It has over 800 APIs built in. Alarm companies and industry vendors can use our software to build their cloud infrastructures, provide fiber, provide telecom. We deliver signaling to almost every central station in the U.S. in one fashion or another, and a lot of automation suppliers have integrated to some of our products or use some of our products and our Cloud center. So we don’t look at ourselves as a software company that’s necessarily competing in that market. We’re more of an R&D house that has products that can be used by everyone.

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