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This month Simon Banks talks to Chris Coughlin, Head of Monitoring at ARM Secure, recently rebranded from VRC Monitoring Solutions. Part of the Asset Protection Group, ARM Secure are an NSI Gold Cat II Video Monitoring Centre, based in Bristol.

Can you tell us a bit more about your new role?

I recently joined ARM Secure as Head of Monitoring, with a view to overseeing the operations and monitoring of our business. I have an extensive background in setting up and running monitoring stations, and in my previous roles, I have worked with some massive retail companies, such as Morrisons. ARM Secure is about to enter a really exciting phase of transformation and I’m thrilled to be joining at such a pivotal time.

What are the latest challenges and opportunities in terms of monitoring?

The nationwide switch-off of PSTN as part of the UK’s All IP project poses a major challenge to our sector. ARCs and Installers must work together, along with solutions providers, to ensure we upgrade and future-proof all connections that currently rely on PSTN. We cannot leave things to chance as that may result in a system failing to signal an alarm to the ARC during an emergency.

Alongside this, from a connectivity point of view, we have growing challenges around encryption, GDPR and general cybersecurity. With all the connected devices in our industry, from alarm signalling to CCTV and beyond, we must ensure we are locking down these systems so that only the responsible parties can interact with the systems.

How is technology improving the services we offer?

As an NSI Gold ARC, it is important to ensure we are always working with the latest technology to provide the best service possible for our Installers and their customers. Increased visibility is one way we can do this, thanks to solutions that offer Remote configuration (UDL) and/or Remote Access to systems. This means we can check faults more easily but also complete online maintenance to keep the system working on the latest software updates.

Further improvements have been seen in terms of CCTV imagery, which now provides better picture quality and larger data options are now offered as standard thanks to the wider availability of 4G and superfast broadband. This means the information we receive and react to, is more accurate than ever.

How can we combine these services to improve our offerings?

Options to combine offerings provide a more holistic and ‘halo’ style solution for Installers. For example, by adding video verification to an alarm system we can get more information at the ARC, should we receive notification of a confirmed alarm. We can then investigate further and action accordingly. The addition of new options like ECHO (Electronic Call Handling Operation) and the priority of professionally monitored alarms at the Police will also enhance what the professional security market has to offer. These complimentary services are adding value for end-users and Installers can benefit from this.


"Excellent company to work with. At Tops Security we only tend to use their monitoring products - because the products never let you down and the technical support is excellent. Should we ever need any extra help, our account manager is always on hand and goes the extra mile."
Tim Fuller (Tops Security) – Google Review – 26 August

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