Integrators, How Much Of Your Business Is RMR?


In addition to intrusion, what other RMR offerings are viable?

Good question.

Statistically, for those that do not do intrusion, the number tends to be quite low, with service contracts being the main driver of RMR.

That said, a typical intrusion monitoring contract is worth more than a typical integrator service contract, everything else equal, because most monitoring contracts are multi-year while most service contracts are annual.

I am running SaaS access control services and looking at CCTV value proposition for hosted to counteract the HIkvision/ Low end systems. I think RMR must be the focus of every independent integrator in 2016. I host my own infrastructure for access control which is obviously higher margin than just reselling someone else's solution but the video needs to be a resell for me as the data capture requirements just wouldn't be feasible for me to create my own.
RMR with respect to video surveillance systems is something that could prevent surveillance camera technology from becoming completely commoditized and in some cases unprofitable in the coming years. There is some cool technology developing in our industry that leverages the cloud for centralized programming, user management, health monitoring, and dissemination of video clips that are stored in the cloud, and then shared with stakeholders. All of the features I listed could be part of dealer provided services, to be SOLD AS SERVICES to the end user, because they would allow them to solve some of the biggest problems with video surveillance systems. Among which is that most systems get installed, and then months down the road when something happens and the customer needs to look or the recording, that's when they discover (for a number of possible reasons) that they don't have the footage. RMR is most certainly on the minds of the industry's leading integrators. They want to justify selling more of it and they increasingly expect their sales to include it. I know this because time and time again they have told me just that.

"There is some cool technology developing in our industry that leverages the cloud for centralized programming, user management, health monitoring, and dissemination of video clips that are stored in the cloud, and then shared with stakeholders. All of the features I listed could be part of dealer provided services, to be SOLD AS SERVICES to the end user"

I agree this is possible. The big risk is 'good enough' DIY alternatives.

Look at alarm systems up until ~5 years ago. An alarm system without a central monitoring service for 99% of people was worthless since there would be no way to respond especially if one was not home. Now with alarm systems that immediately call / email / text / app message the owner anywhere, self monitoring is increasingly an option.

Same with video surveillance. I totally agree that there is value in what you are saying but the price is going to be constrained by cloud accessible on-site systems like Ezviz, et al, yes/no?

Well John, after having spent the last ten "manufacturer-employed" years of my career selling video surveillance products, it is clear to me that if dealers and integrators don't get more creative, offer better services, and sell against the DIY, low cost Chinese options, this segment of their business (at least with SMB projects) will wither and die. Just ask ADI and Tri-Ed how they feel about the current state of things. If they're honest with their reply, they will tell you that its no picnic trying to sell exponentially more hardware to generate the same revenue from a year or two ago. Its only gonna get worse with more and more comparable systems available on Amazon.

To your question about cost; the manufacturer I'm referring to is including their cloud services for five years at no extra cost, or they'll be offering a yearly subscription model. They're not suggesting the cloud will replace local recording. Instead they believe in the cloud as a repository for events/video clips, and simplified sharing of those clips. This wont be a low cost competitor to the Chinese stuff that's flooding the industry.

We have been looking at RMR for surveillance over the last few years (small company, mind you). We have yet to find a solution that really appeals to clients. We have floated the following to various clients:

1) Annual maintanance - client pays for the system upfront and an annual fee to maintain
2) Hosted solution - client pays for cameras only and the entire back-end is cloud-based and billed monthly.
2) Client pays a set monthly fee on a long-term contract (5 or 10 years), we supply a system and upgrade it every "x" years to the newest widely-available technology.

We are staring to see clients sign on option (1) and renew yearly as many of our larger projects do not want headaches during the year.

Option (2) would work if our clients could get fast enough internet, especially the ones with 5-10 3MP cameras. I have no had time to test what upload speed would be required for a smaller setup, maybe someone has a better idea.

Option (3) we are staring to see some condo complexes contemplate it, but not many want to be forced into such a long-term service contract. I understand, if the service provider (us) starts getting comfortable and does not address issues quickly, the board is stuck with that provider for another "x" years. Many of our clients have been burned by our competetors in this way and we understand why they would be wary.

I do have a question for Paul, what product do you use for the access control service? I spoke with Keyscan about doing this for clients, but many of my clients prefer to not rely on an internet connection for making changes to their access control.

I use the Kantech platform for access control SaaS. There are some things it is good at, some things it is positively archaic at, but it has an advantage of panel initiated communications as opposed to host initiated communications which works well for panels behind dynamic NAT firewalls or connected to 3G dongles.

The Kantech does have a nice looking silverlight web app and an iOs app for clients and a useful set of DLLs for integration of third party systems. The native interface is from the early 80s and I wouldn't show it to anyone! The reliability of the web links has not been an issue at all with Kantech I have to say.

In response to John's point, I have tested rebadged Dahua machines for bandwidth utilisation and it is a bit scary how much apps and remote monitoring will chew up. It is a point to get across to the client that does add value to the not just good enough segments.

I am similarly looking at the intelligent PSUs on the market for remote monitoring. I still can't figure out if they're a solution in search of a problem or a true value addition for clients but they are worth consideration.

Any other interesting concepts that people are looking at? A lot of manufacturers are jumping on the RMR bandwagon without having a true value proposition worked out that makes sense from the clients' points of view. Like anything, I believe customers will adopt if they see a true value for them as opposed to blindly following the flavour of the month that is cloud. Cloud is not one entity as it can be public, private or hybrid and different clients will have different viewpoints on what adds value to them.

Would be interested in other people's thoughts!

I have customers who can gain a small amount of RMR off of video surveillance via remote viewing.

I have some customers who use a DDNS service such as No-IP to their advantage. They will buy a block of 50 DDNS names or so and anytime they install a system for their customer, they give their customer a DDNS name to view their cameras with. They charge around $5-10 a month to keep remote viewing "Active", and anytime their customer doesnt pay, my customer goes to the DDNS service and disactivates the DDNS service and the customer can no longer view their cameras remotely. The majority of their customers arent smart enough to do port forwarding so it works out. The advent of P2P may make this a little more difficult but my guess is that the end user customer probably wont be able to completely figure this out either.

Cloud storage will be the key to really getting RMR in surveillance in the future, but I just dont think average internet speeds and/or data caps are where they need to be to make this a marketable solution yet, not if you really want to record high quality video.

I love RMR, it's my life blood. Most of it comes from intrusion/fire monitoring.

More recently we get RMR from cellular radio fees included in every intrusion/fire system monitoring package (As POTS lines are dead). We now get RMR for access control web and mobile applications for managing their systems in the cloud. We've also rolled out video verification on the mobile apps and at the monitoring station for intrusion systems.

IMO there's almost no reason not to get RMR on every job. RMR helps to reduce the cost of installation and ongoing maintenance for the customer, and allows you to makeup for it in the long haul. It also helps to ensure that no two-bit alarm contractor gets hired out to "fix" something and ends up making things more difficult for you to repair later on.