Commercial fire alarm systems are a necessary component of most commercial properties. Selecting a company and a system can be a challenge. One of Urban Alarm’s core values is that customers should be able to choose who they work with and not be locked into a single provider. If you are not happy with the vendor you should have the right to choose another.
The business strategy of many companies is in direct conflict trying to lock a customer into their service. This is sometimes done through proprietary equipment or simply locking the equipment with a specific code.
When selecting a commercial fire alarm system there are three types of system / vendor:
- Open Distribution Fire Alarm Systems are available through distributors without restriction to who they are sold to. These systems include most Fire-Lite, Silent Knight, and FireworX.
- Proprietary Fire Alarm Systems are installed and maintained by a single company. Generally these system are restricted in who can monitor and / or service them due to the lack of availability of parts and tools. These are the most restrictive products but often have very sophisticated capabilities are integration with smart building systems. This category can include Simplex and Siemens and while Urban Alarm can generally provide monitoring, testing, and inspection services; replacement parts and some device programming can only be delivered by the brand manufacturer of the systems.
Distributor Channel Fire Alarm Systems are available through limited approved dealers. These brands include Notifier, Vigilant, and DMP. They are a hybrid where the manufacturer generally aggressively supports the distribution partner (i.e., the dealer) with training and sophisticated tools; only certified and trained partners are able to perform some of the work on these systems.
Within this category there is a spectrum of restrictiveness and service. Some products are very restrictive and only allow one or two companies, in a given geography, to sell and service their product. This limits competition among dealers and allows the manufacturer to support a limited dealer base. Dealers are often required to make a very significant, often times exclusive commitment to the manufacturer.
Other manufacturers offer much less restrictive dealer programs. Urban Alarm works with a number of these less restrictive manufacturers as an Authorized Dealer. Here are some of the reasons why we take this approach:
Our Authorized Dealer relationships with manufacturers give us access to training and support not available in other relationships. When we make a commitment to minimum purchase volumes the manufacturers commit back to is with regular on-site training and direct access to top tier support and engineering.
In order to qualify for an authorized dealer program we (and all authorized dealers) must meet minimum training requirements and certified technician requirements. Companies that are Authorized Dealers are often more sophisticated and deliver more consistent services not non manufacturer authorized companies that are not held to the same standards.
Products sold through Authorized Dealers tend to be more sophisticated and have greater capabilities. Manufacturers have more latitude because they can count on the companies selling and supporting their systems to be highly trained on their equipment.
These manufacturers provide a much higher quality of technical and engineering support. Since technicians calling into manufacturers for technical support are required to be certified they are assumed to be fluent in the systems so manufacturer's technical support can skip over the basic troubleshooting and go straight to the top tier engineering support.