What do these companies have in common? BAE Systems, Macy’s, Walmart, Deere & Co., Wegmans, government agencies, schools and universities? This group represents a few members of the TMA Proprietary Council. Although the term “proprietary” is used in this industry in a variety of ways, each with a different meaning, TMA recognizes a proprietary central station as one whose mission is to provide alarm monitoring services for a company or entity that is not an alarm business. In essence, a proprietary central station is its own customer.
The questions below address some of the differences between proprietary and non-proprietary central stations.
Does the central station generate revenue?
Proprietary central stations do not generate revenue for profit. Alarm companies and contract central stations equate their success to a number of accounts or annual sales figure. Proprietary central stations are a support service to the business. As accounts or locations are added, there is no direct effect to a bottom line.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper for these large companies to “outsource” alarm monitoring?
This is an issue which has been researched by several proprietary central stations. Managers who have tried to do this will tell you that while outsourcing looks good on paper, day-to-day services will be expensive over time, and no contracted central station can duplicate a proprietary central’s “in-house” resources. On the other hand, many large central stations don’t want the tedious, labor- and cost-intensive administrative duties that proprietary central stations face each day.
What types of security equipment are utilized in the central station?
Generally, a proprietary central station is responsible for managing several types of security systems including access control, video applications (including on-site and long range CCTV and remote DVR equipment), specialized/supervised systems (examples include HVAC systems, vaults, laboratories) and various electronic asset tracking systems.
Do you use alternative types of signal transmissions?
One of the greatest benefits to a proprietary central station is the ability to transmit alarm and/or video signals over the company’s intranet, satellite, VoIP or other systems. These communication paths facilitate various company needs and to enhance services for the customer. Proprietary central stations save thousands of dollars each fiscal year using technology engaged in other departments.
What services do the central station provide?
Most proprietary central stations not only provide burglar alarm monitoring services, they also serve as the company’s command center for national or global security issues. These command centers address issues such as bomb threats, workplace violence response, asset tracking and executive protection needs.
From a safety standpoint, many proprietary central stations choose to maintain a NRTL listing for the purpose of monitoring their required fire systems. This listing allows proprietary central stations to monitor “in house,” averting the need for a third-party fire alarm monitoring company.
In the event of either a safety or security emergency, proprietary central stations have the tools available to notify the appropriate internal and external resources necessary. These notifications could include human resources, safety department, upper management, legal department resources, internal disaster response teams, media relations, field loss prevention professionals and internal benefits departments.
While there are some differences, proprietary central stations still deal with many of the same issues facing all central stations—false alarms, licensing and alarm monitoring equipment, as well as some of the same management issues that a “for profit” central station faces.
The Proprietary Council works to support other companies with similar central station needs. For more information regarding proprietary central stations and the benefits of membership and the Proprietary Council, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.