Thinking about adding PERS to your operation
An article on ePERS in SDM's May 2016 magazine caught my attention. If you're thinking about offering mobile PERS the article has a few interesting statistics [not sure if they are accurate - but they sound reasonable].
PERS, personal emergency response or medical alert, has been around for a long time but has traditionally been limited to a stationary base unit that communicated with a remote device in the house and within range of the base unit. The subscriber pushes the button on the base unit or on the remote, a signal is sent to the central station and the operator can communicate via two way audio in the base unit to determine if an emergency situation exists. This system depends on traditional alarm communication, telephone lines. While VoIP didn't work with these units, I think technology has changed and some [if not all] PERS base units can now use other modes of communication besides POTS.
Mobile PERS is exactly what it sounds like, a PERS device that can leave the home, does not rely on a base unit, and communicates with the central station or can be used to call or text a list provided by the subscriber. These devices can be provided by the alarm company or may be software downloaded by the subscriber on the subscriber's smart phone as an app.
As the article intimated, the PERS business is growing and may be a great fit for your operation. Don't be closed minded to expanding into this area, just be mindful that selling PERS may not be what you're used to if you're a traditional security or fire alarm professional. Some distinctions:
- PERS is not usually classified as an alarm system and an alarm license is not required in most jurisdictions.
- PERS installations are, more and more, DIY, which means you don't have to have the labor to install.
- PERS equipment may be available through manufacturers or central stations who will drop ship directly to your subscriber.
- A PERS operation may be more difficult to obtain E&O insurance. Adding PERS to your alarm operation will not likely cause a problem with your E&O policy as long as the PERS operation doesn't become your primary business, which it very well might if you market successfully.
- PERS marketing is likely to be on line mass marketing. Sure you can promote PERS to your customer base and sell the same way you do other systems, perhaps relying on referrals, but the PERS business lends itself to nationwide sales since the equipment is easy to ship, relatively inexpensive, DIY installed, or simply downloaded as an app on the subscriber's smart phone. The money is in the RMR monitoring charges.
- Your marketing will be on line, telephone solicitations and other mass marketing options. You will need to know the law in all the jurisdictions regarding solicitations because your potential customer base will be nationwide.
- You will be entering into agreements with subscribers from all jurisdictions. You will need to know the law in each jurisdiction for providing PERS sales and monitoring services.
- You will need to make arrangements with your vendors, which will include a manufacturer and central station.
- You may need to update the information you provided to your insurance broker for E&O coverage [be sure to consult with a broker on The Alarm Exchange - in the Insurance Broker category - they understand this business].
- You will need a Nationwide PERS Agreement that complies with the laws in each jurisdiction. The agreement will be designed for on line execution, though we only provide the form. Get the Nationwide PERS agreement by contacting our Contract Administrator Eileen Wagda at 516 747 6700 x 312. Our standard form includes consultation and individual customization so that the contract fits your specific operation ideas.