Experiences With Remote Video Monitoring?

Can anyone share based on their experience what would be the monthly service cost to remotely monitor an outdoor camera by a remote monitoring center?

I'm looking for the cost of the monitoring service only (to the end customer as well as the dealer), excluding equipment cost. Thank you.


Here's a few questions for you:

1. Are the cameras existing? If so, is there a typical brand/type/resolution?

2. Is recording done onsite, or will the monitoring station store video?

3. Is one camera per site being monitored, or are there more than one?

1. Cameras sometimes exist but usually are new (should that affect the monthly monitoring cost?).

2. Recording is done on site.

3. An average site includes 4-8 cameras.

Thank you.

Monitor it for what?

Perimeter protection. For example: if a person is loitering in the area it will trigger an alarm to the monitoring center, the monitoring center will view the camera recording and live view and will dispatch guards/ police if needed.

There is no standard pricing, a lot of the remote interactive monitoring stuff is still being worked out across the industry. Some places charge per camera, some per event (or batch of events), and some charge by the hour when the system is "Armed".

Other than the places charging by the hour (typically in the $4-$9/hr range), the pricing will ultimately vary based on the number of events generated per month. This is where a good (or bad) analytics product can make or break the cost effectiveness of it all.

As a very rough estimate, pricing will usually start around $75/camera/month, or $3 per event.

Thanks a lot Brian!

Can you estimate the price for the alarm dealer itself?

Those are dealer prices for the most part.

So what will be reasonable prices for end customers?

Again, it varies a lot. I've seen dealer markups anywhere from 10% to 200% on those prices. There are a lot of nuances as well.

For example, I have one dealer who at this point probably has 100 facilities and 2000+ cameras deployed across the US for a remote monitoring application. Part of their contract to their end users is that if the system is down the dealer will deploy a guard, at their expense, on site until the system is repaired/operational again. With that many sites, and that much equipment, the odds are that you're going to have a couple of outages a year. In this case the markup from the monitoring cost includes some hedge for the "on site guard fund", almost an insurance of sorts.

In another situation, a dealer has cameras at very remote sites that get very minimal activity. There is no "we'll put a guard onsite" provision, or similar commitments. Just a very simple monitoring agreement. Those sites are roughly $200/mo. to the dealer, and they're charging the customer $250/mo. The central station doing the monitoring is handling the invoicing and billing, under the auspice of the dealer's brand/logo. In this case the dealer needs to do nothing other than cash their $50 "commission" check each month. I've also seen that same general setup where it's $200 to the dealer and $1000 to the customer. The dealer, who is completely passive in the month to month operations, is making significantly more profit than the monitoring center that is providing the actual service.

Thanks again Brian. It is interesting to see this variety.

Is it possible that in some of the examples you gave, the dealer is including the equipment price as part of the monthly fee? Can this explain the huge margins?

Is it possible that in some of the examples you gave, the dealer is including the equipment price as part of the monthly fee? Can this explain the huge margins?

Not in those examples, but that is done as well. In those scenarios the hourly example usually comes in around $12/hr to the end-user with a 2-3 year minimum agreement. I also have some guys that do the equipment-included model on the monthly fee scenario, the contracts vary from 1-3 years, depending on the amount of equipment installed and the logistics of the site.

In many cases the margins are simply "because they can". We've replaced a ton of on-site guards with equipment and remote monitoring. ROI to the customer can be as short as 6 months (on-site guard is roughly $10k/mo for a 6pm-6am M-F/all-day Sat/Sun contract). It doesn't take long for a $30,000 equipment deployment and a $2,000/mo. contract to come out ahead financially. And before the doubters chime in, the customers have found the remote monitoring to be MORE effective overall than the onsite guard.

The key part of making this work is that the product has to be reliable AND compatible with the software used at the monitoring facility.

Brain Karas, thank you again for sharing this detailed info.

Are there any other members of the forum that can share their knowledge on this subject?