Managed Services

RMR & The Integrator: A Tale of Managed Services

For a long time in the physical security industry, there were two camps: the alarm company — based on RMR, and the integrator — based on large onsite systems. Times have changed. As DIY and tech giants march into the alarm company’s domain, the security integrator is being pulled into the security-as-a-service industry. With this comes recurring monthly revenue, which is not a total stranger to the integrator, but is starting to take more of their attention. Here is what you, the integrator, need to know.

RMR Is Not a Dirty Phrase

About 10-20 years ago, RMR would instantly generate images of monitoring accounts by the thousands, as accounts were bought and sold as commodities by the big companies and hoarded by the smaller companies until retirement.

As the COO of Engineered Security, Ken Whelan leads the team to provide top-notch client relations and operational support in all branches of the business. He is personally responsible for the creation of EngSec’s Central Station, the UL Certified hub for security monitoring.

Ken Whelan

Today, RMR includes monitoring, hosting, maintaining, managing and even leasing. Large systems need RMR in so many ways to provide end users with the support they want and need.

Installations = capital expense; RMR = operating expense.

Software-as-a-service has opened the door for many industries to provide “aaS” models to customers. The jagged ups and downs of large purchases every few years have become dinosaur-level outdated, while flat costs that cover 100 percent of services are in vogue.

Now that basic software subscriptions are considered the norm, new major operating system updates are no longer a time to sweat. Faith in value of the money spent year-over-year means the provider will manage everything on the backend, though the process looks seamless to its users. The days of large bills for software upgrades, costs for staff training and conversion labor or hidden costs for down time are gone.

Ed Muller, a member of the PSA Security Network’s emerging technologies committee and director of deployment for Engineered Security, said, “Most new technologies are using recurring cloud services, which gives us the ability to do some diagnostic tests prior to arriving on-site to reduce the cost of on-site services.”

The days of “install-it-and-forget-it” are a thing of the past, as is showing up to a service call blindly with limited to no background information.

‘The jagged ups and downs of large purchases every few years have become dinosaur-level outdated, while flat costs that cover 100 percent of services are in vogue.’

RMR Vocabulary

Off-site services:

Monitoring: Active 24/7 monitoring for alarms including intrusion, fire, environmental, power and IT resources. This can include video monitoring and verification.

Hosted: The software is not local to the customer site, but in the cloud. This saves the customer from hidden costs of running an extra machine while providing backups and updates.

Managed: The customer does not have to log into the system. The integrator administrates all additions, removals, reports and other items for the client.

Answering: Emergency and elevator phone answering service, similar to alarm monitoring.

On-site Services:

Test & inspection: Required for fire alarm systems, a visual and functionality test that reports what needs to be addressed on quote or time and materials basis to the end user.

Preventative maintenance: Test & inspection that includes cleaning, tightening and other minor work to keep the system from having issues in the future. Any major fixes, repairs or replacements to be addressed on quote or time and materials basis.

Full maintenance: All major fixes, repairs or replacements are covered (unless otherwise spelled out, i.e., misuse, intentional damage, etc.)

Response time: Usually an additional monthly charge to guarantee a certain on-site response.

RMR Is an Enhancement — Not a Replacement

Large custom integrated systems are not going away. They are evolving to utilize the RMR tools to enhance the end user experience. Gone are the days of considering only the integrator when there is a big project or a problem to fix. Now, the integrator is a constant part of the team — without having to park someone at a site full time. Perhaps without realizing it, the end user is provided with an entire team dedicated to minimizing their problems and allowing customers to focus on moving forward with their own company goals.

“Giving our customers the ability to manage access control and CCTV costs as a monthly number has allowed us to build better relationships and allows them to plan for future upgrades,” explained Shawn Bauer, director of the security operations center (SOC) at Engineered Security.

As for smaller systems, end users do not have to skimp on services to reserve funds for larger installations. For a smaller operating expense, they receive the same support team as the larger end users at a price that is scaled towards the amount of equipment they have. Bauer continues, “By allowing us to handle our customers’ building security, they can focus on the other pressing company needs.”

No matter the size of the system, no end user goes unnoticed — there’s an RMR model for everyone. //