In August 2009, The Economist estimated that home phones are being disconnected at a rate of nearly 700,000 lines per month. At that rate, the last phone line in America would be disconnected in 2025. To put this into perspective, this would happen sooner than the last newspaper would be delivered using similar calculations for newspaper subscriptions. The impact of the massive changeover for the security industry cannot be understated. With some form of wired connection constituting more than 85 percent of residential installations, this trend will force security dealers to consider alternatives to the phone lines once taken for granted; an alternative that will have to address the potential changeover of millions of security systems. More and more frequently, homeowners are going to want a security system and not have a home phone line available to pass the signals. 
 
Today’s generation of security system customers are slowly waking to the fact that their cell phone rings much more frequently with the calls they want to answer than does their home phone. As the realization of this finally hits them they choose to disconnect the home phone and then require a solution for their now inoperable security system. But for the next generation of security system customers, they have only known the cell phone and may have had the same phone number since high school. They barely recognize the purpose of the phone jacks scattered around their new homes and apartments. To earn their business, security dealers must lead the sales process with solutions that don’t rely on the home phone line. The solution is cellular.


Why Cellular?

Cellular technology provides homes and business that previously would not be able to install security systems with 24/7, reliable security. Today, wireless connectivity is more dependable and secure than ever before and it provides a dedicated transmission path for alarm notifications that cannot be compromised. Increased coverage by the nationwide digital cellular networks ensures that even remote locations have access to wireless connectivity, where landlines are often not available. 

Education Is Necessary

Though these solutions have been around for a while, some security professionals have been reluctant to offer them for a number of reasons. An independent survey of security dealers conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009 by Telular Corporation showed that slightly less than half of the 245 respondents include cellular solutions as a standard component of their intrusion or fire system proposals. The reasons vary, but the most common reason for not offering cellular alarm communicators is that homeowners are not asking for them. This despite the fact that homeowners often disconnect their phone lines and accidentally leave themselves unprotected until their mistake is detected.

It’s clear that awareness and education need to take place in the market in order to propel these solutions forward. Homeowners must be made aware of the benefits of wireless, its reliability and affordability, so they know what to ask for when calling a security dealer. The message really is twofold; if a customer chooses not to install a home phone, they can still protect their family and assets with a full data security system. While people looking to save money and reduce monthly household expenses, can also cut their current telephone line, eliminate a phone bill and turn to wireless protection for their monitoring systems.

Marketing tools, such as invoice stuffers, radio ads, and website content, can be used to explain wireless protection to residents and businesses. Wirelesslyprotected.com is one resource created to reach end users, which describes different common scenarios where wireless protection is the ideal method of security.


Time to Update Your Portfolio

As security dealers prepare to address this trend of cutting the phone line, it is essential to include cellular in your bag and be prepared when arriving at the next cell only site. There are a growing number of cellular alarm products on the market, all claiming to be the easiest to install and most cost-effective. It is important to keep in mind that not all security alarm installations are the same, it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ market. An installer has to deal with various different cabinet locations, budget constraints, customer needs, etc.

By leveraging a complete portfolio of cellular alarm solutions a dealer can better serve their current customer base and grow it steadily. A strong portfolio should include cellular solutions with different price points for residential and commercial customers. It is important to consider products with the appropriate UL listings and the flexibility to work with virtually all alarm panels. Often times, all the products in a suite are compatible with the same accessories making installations easier and solutions more cost-effective. Activation of these units should also be simple, either through an online portal or by contacting customer support.


Features That Increase Revenue

Manufacturers of cellular alarm communicators understand that security dealers and installers have specific challenges when installing a security system. Many of today’s newest solutions address these issues in order to make installation easier. 

• Small size and light weight – Small cellular communicators make installations easier. An easier installation allows a dealer to get in and out of a customer site quickly, saving him time. The smaller size also makes them more convenient to carry around in a truck and to store because they take up less space, which can be limited given the other equipment and tools required for an installation.

• Compatibility with a wide variety of alarm panels – Offering a cellular communicator that is compatible with most alarm panels is important to growing your business. You want to be prepared for takeovers where the home owner is also looking to disconnect their home phone line. Rather than having to postpone an installation and search your distributor for a cellular communicator compatible with the existing alarm panel, a universally compatible communicator would allow you to proceed with a quick install regardless of the existing panel. To ensure maximum flexibility, select cellular alarm communicators that use dial capture technology to communicate with the panel and support virtually all alarm formats including Contact ID and modem formats.

• Using the power and backup battery of the security panel - A cellular communicator that does not require its own battery or AC power supply offers a great deal of advantages. First, these communicators are typically less expensive since backup batteries are usually sold separately. They are easier to install because you do not have to be concerned with the location or existence of the wall outlet. Additionally, powering off the panel also eliminates return trips for a forgotten battery.


Conclusion

Like the Boy Scouts motto, the bottom line for security dealers looking to grow their business and remain ahead of the competition is to “Be Prepared.” Be prepared with the latest technology and solutions for security monitoring in order to meet the needs of a growing potential customer base.

Every quarter, traditional telephone companies announce dramatic reductions in home phone service while their cellular counterparts announce subscriber growth. This is a great opportunity for security industry and now is the time to capitalize on it by offering cellular solutions in all your proposals.