It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, Almo Professional A/V is doing a nice job of providing integration firms with new revenue opportunities, the latest being its Almo CONNECT service that allows integrators to offer broadband connectivity from major telecom companies like Comcast and Time Warner directly to their customers has added an ability to sell video surveillance and wireless phone service.
On the other hand, it’s always interesting to see how these unconventional solutions are perceived by the integrator community. Is it something they feel they can or will sell?
The first chance to gather a lot of feedback on the expanded Almo CONNECT offers came during Almo Pro A/V’s E4 AV Tour stop in Teaneck, N.J. last week. The next E4 AV Tour stop is Oct. 3 in Irvine, Calif.
Integrators are indeed asking questions about the program, according to Almo Pro A/V business development manager Rob Voorhees, who is heading up the Almo CONNECT program. “Even just off discussions I’ve had this morning with some of our partners here at E4, it seems to be generating interest among them,” he said during last week’s E4.
Rethinking the Services Integrators Provide
The idea of an AV integration firm selling broadband connectivity — the initial benefit that ALMO CONNECT offers — isn’t necessarily easy to grasp. Integrators aren’t cable guys. Many integrators probably don’t want their custom solutions and service to get all tied up and connected with the cable industry.
The worlds, though, are intertwined. The systems that integration firms design for their customers are increasingly connected and interactive, requiring more broadband data. It’s an integrator’s job to ensure that the system works well – so being able to sell that connectivity on the spot is logical.
Accepting that logic, there are other non-conventional solutions that integrators ought to be able to sell on the spot, according to Voorhees. “One of my main goals has been, how do we expand [Almo CONNECT], and ultimately provide more service to our dealers and the end-users, the customers?”
He calls the addition of wireless phone service, security and surveillance options logical value-add services for Almo dealers that “ultimately put more revenue in their pocket.”
During Almo Pro A/V E4 AV Tour, Voorhees talked about the unique ways in which the new offerings can impact integrators’ sales approaches.
Wireless Solutions Offer Data Opportunities:
Through the wireless program, which I think is extremely interesting, with our partner at MetTel Mobile [a wholesaler of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint wireless service], they provide not just the traditional business wireless service that businesses are accustomed to through AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Now, they offer all of MetTel’s back-end reporting, management and monitoring for no additional charge. It’s complementary with customers to sign up.
That’s a big play for dealers because customers know and recognize the AT&T logo, the Verizon brand, the features and the services, but now, to add in additional layers of value, and additional layers of security for these companies is definitely a big play.
Meanwhile, the new wireless options allow integrator to elevate their sales conversations with customers. Voorhees uses Almo as an example:
If I was to walk into ALMO headquarters, and try to pitch them on our Internet and voice and video security offerings, I would look around at that organization and basically say, “Is your sales team always in the field? I assume they have mobile devices. By the way, who are they using for their mobile service so far?”
… Again, there’s so much else that goes into the mobile offerings than just phones, especially from the ownership level. As a customer, they are more concerned with the security standpoint — how secure these devices are going to be, how secure the information is going to be, and the data that [their] sales team is sharing back and forth.
Surveillance goes beyond traditional security:
Comcast, certainly, with their new Comcast Business Smart Office product, it’s more of a stealth-monitoring type of play. Comcast will come out and install HD-quality cameras on a property, but then through the cloud and through a mobile smart app, the business owner can monitor his office, no matter where he is in the world.
So, if he’s lying on a beach, he’ll still be able to see what’s going on at his property, which is a really nice peace of mind.
Voorhees says this type of intelligent solution allows integrators to create more layers of value for customers. They do need to approach the sales process differently, but in doing so they can present customers with better ROI.
I want them to not just go into a property to install a digital sign. I want them to be trained to go into the property, install that digital sign, but then look around that property and ask the proper qualifying questions, because they can walk in there and find out that that property’s existing surveillance contract just expired. Well, guess what? I can now offer that to you as a traditional revenue opportunity.
Surveillance does cater to traditional security:
We have other partners that specialize in the more traditional security sense, where it’s 24/7 network monitoring, as well as 24/7 property monitoring, with security keypads, motion detectors, you name it. Obviously, those systems have direct communication with the local authority, in the attempt of a security breach.