The case for a third umpire in armed response

Residential Estate Security Handbook 2019 Security Services & Risk Management

99% of alarm activations are false. And for business and residential property owners who cannot afford the cost of an offsite monitoring service or dedicated control room, these activations represent inconvenience, insecurity and yet another step towards apathy.

For armed response providers, this noise in the system translates directly into increased overhead as they scale up their operations to meet the inflated resources required to address and close-out these activations. With the cost per call out estimated at between R40 – R70 per call out, false alarms have a very real impact on the bottom line.

It stands to reason that the property owner, or another key property stakeholder, with the onsite context of who should and shouldn’t be on the property, is the most definitive judge of whether the alarm trigger is yet another false alarm or rather a real threat requiring careful and informed engagement. So how can your business benefit from this knowledge?

Our current paradigm is to offer solutions which give the property owner control of their security system, but then immediately turn them into a spectator the moment there is an alarm activation. This is obviously done by design, because a security response process reliant on the property owner to respond fails the moment that owner is incapacitated or under duress.

Making the customer relevant

We at Sentian believe there is great potential in taking the customer and elevating them from being a spectator, and empowering them to be more of a third umpire. The response process still doesn’t rely on the customer’s response for a vehicle to be dispatched, but now benefits significantly from the customer’s expertise, augmented by video verification to give them the critical information they need to confidently delineate between what is and what isn’t a threat.

They become judge and jury in assessing the threat, allowing them to feel in control and providing actionable insights they can use to reduce the causes of future false alarms. The benefits to armed response are that when clients are empowered to identify false alarm activations, the majority of call outs are cancelled before a vehicle is even dispatched. This means armed response can spend more of their time and resources on the meaningful 1% of real threats, rather than the irrelevant 99%.

For property owners, both commercial and residential, with multiple sites where the economics of offsite monitoring are prohibitive, they can essentially put a control room in their pockets. A virtual control room which can easily be shared with other informed stakeholders, like family, property managers and staff to share the burden. This allows them to federate the oversight, as well as giving them high-level management oversight of the property, remote control of access, alarm, automation and CCTV capabilities.

For more information contact Sentian, +27 21 492 0777,,


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