Service models are changing, and it is essential that installers are ahead of the curve. Advancements such as the rapid rise of cloud technology is changing the nature of the industry. In order to stay competitive in a growing space that recently achieved a market size of £1.4 billion in the UK, it is vital that installers provide future-proofed products to customers.
Why digital transformation is driving alarm installer evolution
Speed of delivering security
The way Alarm Receiving Centres (ARCs) communicate with blue light services is evolving with the advent of initiatives like Electronic Call Handling Operations (ECHO). This particular development has been designed to drive an increased focus on digital signal transfer, optimising the speed and accuracy with which emergency services are alerted of alarm triggers.
The police forces across the UK receive 10,000s of calls daily, with the Met receiving the most with approximately 13,000. Within those calls are ARCs calling out to police control rooms to notify them of alarm triggers. The use of ECHO technology will greatly streamline the process – eliminating the potential for human error and saving an average of up to four minutes in deploying responders to confirmed alarms.
Installers, therefore, can play a vital role in the effort to digitise and transform the transmission of alarm signalling to emergency services by ensuring their portfolios are ECHO-ready.
Some changes that are taking place in the space are inevitable, making it essential that alarm installers adopt a transformation mindset. A prime example is the move to all-IP, driven in part by the switch-off of the PSTN by 2025. By this time, all legacy-based alarm signalling systems that use that network to dial out to ARCs will not be able to, meaning they need to be upgraded to IP-based alternatives.
Getting ahead of this target will be a key factor in staying competitive, with significant opportunities available for those who lead the digital transformation charge. 2025 will soon be upon us and now the doubts that the move to all IP might not happen have gone. It is important to start now. From mid April this year, in the first all-IP trial exchanges of Salisbury and Mildenhall, Openreach will be taking active steps to encourage those customers not already migrated to speak with their Communication Providers and are aiming to switch off PSTN at these sites in October 2023. This means that any premises, that has been enabled for fibre, with an analogue phone line, will potentially lose service. But country wide communication providers are migrating customers all the time. We have already seen component and equipment shortages and if everyone leaves swapping out till 2025 then we may see similar issues.
Perhaps surprisingly, however, given the headlines in other industries, one development that is unlikely to have a huge impact on alarm signalling in the relatively near future is 5G. It can play a role, in the streaming of HD video, for instance, but it won’t be needed to handle the typically low-capacity requirements of alarm signalling solutions. The ubiquity and strength of 4G is perfect for that, but that does mean 3G will soon be completely in the past as operators expand their 4G and 5G networks. Although the 2G closure date has been announced as 2033 it is likely that 2G spectrum will be repurposed for 4G and 5G thus degrading the 2G network.
BT Redcare’s Next Generation portfolio of IP-connected alarm signalling systems is reliably supported by 4G SIMs, positioning us well to support installers who need to make the transition.
Staying ahead of the competition
Installers hold the keys to the UK’s safety and security, meaning they cannot afford to compromise on the services they supply. An overreliance on legacy systems will ultimately lead to an inability to provide modern safety and security solutions that aren’t future-proofed. For example, continuing to fit alarm signalling systems that only have 2G and/or 3G capability as or part of the solution, at some point these will need to be upgraded again so will be a false economy.
For the reasons analysed above, installers that are slow to actively pursue digital transformation stand to fall behind. As the industry grows, those that are increasingly meeting the demands of consumers are unlocking new opportunities and business momentum.
By taking proactive steps towards achieving digital transformation, alarm installers have the opportunity to become go-to providers of all-IP solutions. Those who have prepared themselves to offer future-proofed, Next Generation products in advance of the switch-off will be the most competitive players as customers look to transition now.
BT Redcare has taken action to support installers not only with our easy-to-install, cost effective, ECHO and all-IP ready Next Generation portfolio that comes with 24/7 monitoring and 10-year upfront guarantees, but also with our all-IP special offer and all-IP marketing toolkit, enabling alarm installers to support their customers evolving needs.