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This month Simon Banks talks to Dominic Gundry-White, Managing Director of Cannon Fire & Security. Cannon are a Commercial Security Company based in Bristol, Bath, and Swindon, providing CCTV, Fire, and Intruder Alarm Security Systems.

What is the main reason for upgrading all your digital communicators?

There is a huge change ahead within the industry as the analogue telephone network (PTSN) will no longer be available from 2025, or sooner. The disruption this is likely to cause end-users, Installers, ARCs, and suppliers is very concerning. We felt that the necessary changes needed to be made now to safeguard our customer’s connectivity. Working with CSL we were able to upgrade our alarm systems from legacy digital communicators, to the radio-only, MiniAir 2. It has enabled us to future-proof our business ahead of the ‘big switch-off’.

How did your customers respond to the requirement to upgrade?

Upgrading customers can sometimes be a challenge, especially at a time where costs are rising in other areas. It was vital for us to speak directly and openly with our customers to ensure they understand the potential ramifications if their connectivity stopped working, meaning their alarm systems couldn’t communicate. We explained that we did not want to jeopardise the service we are proud to provide. We found most customers valued our advice and appreciated the proactive approach we took. They were also persuaded by the added value a digital solution offers, including end-user Apps. Customers are notified in real time if their system is activated, providing them with the full remote control and visibility they expect with a modern alarm system.

Not all end-users chose to upgrade, but approximately 95% of our customers trusted us to futureproof their system. Other Installers may fear that their monitoring contracts are at risk during this period, however we saw less than 1% of our customers decide not to continue with this option. The change is inevitable, so informing them early and keeping the cost down was the key to the success. 

Is there any advice you would want to give to other Installers who are thinking of upgrading?

The volume of sites to upgrade can be daunting, but this can be factored into the yearly maintenance visits saving both time and further costs. Initially we e-mailed all affected customers informing them of the PSTN changes and how it would impact them. We advised we would contact them to arrange their routine service or for them to contact us if they are told by their telephone line supplier that they were being upgraded ahead of our service visit. We found giving the customer this initial information really helped smooth the conversation when the time came.

Most customers were happy to proceed with the upgrade and appreciated us keeping the costs down by proactively booking the work as part of the routine service. Many remembered the television digital upgrade so were accepting of the change and costs. In addition, many favoured the upgrade to a 4G solution, away from the older telephone lines that most did not use for anything else.

YOU SAID IT!

“CSL have never let us down at Harrisons Fire & Security. 1st class tech support coupled with award winning equipment means we can really push forward with ensuring all customers are ready for the big BT switch off!”

Jon Melbourne (Harrisons Fire & Security) – Google Review – 2 September  

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