CRIME BUSTER LAUNCHES PRE-PAID SURVEILLANCE
Written on the 20 February 2012
A SUNNYBANK alarm monitoring company hopes to capture a slice of the SME market with its new services.
Software engineer Adam Warski has big plans for his Attikis Australia start-up business as he looks to lower the cost of alarm monitoring by more than 90 per cent.
His pre-paid service allows users to connect an existing alarm to the Attikis monitoring system that can be operational in about 20 minutes.
“If your home or business is then violated, Attikis’ computer servers will automatically ring up to 20 people or more simultaneously to tell them there’s been a violation via phone and SMS. It retries if no one picks up,” he says.
“You can (also) tell if somebody is home via your iPhone. If a door has not been opened by a certain time, you would know the kids are not at home. You can even link other sensors to your alarm system to monitor for a house fire, medical emergency including an elderly person slipping or new pool safety sensors designed to reduce fatal accidents.”
Warski developed the system after questioning the cost of alarm monitoring when his ground-floor apartment was broken into despite having installed an expensive home security system.
“I could not believe the cost of the monitoring and started researching the area. In many ways this all started out as a personal project and then just got bigger,” he says.
“In my former work for IT company Red Hat as JBoss software engineer and architect, I liked working on things, pulling things apart, understanding how it works and building things from scratch.”
The system, which was developed in the US and Poland, has already been trialled in California. Attikis will operate in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria before expanding to other states and territories.
“Our homes are empty for large parts of the day (and) alarm sirens by themselves are often ignored by neighbours, so when you are not there a back-to-base alarm monitoring system really is the only effective watchdog,” says Warski.
He claims one of his competitors charges $359 per year but says Attikis is 12 times cheaper at just $30 annually.
“Instead of focusing on a small premium crop with a higher price, we try to focus on the broader population who do not see the value in paying $400 a year for alarm monitoring. We have identified small-to-medium business with up to 100 staff as our key target market,” he says.
Attikis has received interest from across South East Queensland with higher crime areas yielding better prospects.
“Sunnybank is a real growth area and the Chinese are responding quite well. They appreciate value for money and are quite technologically savvy. A local bank manager has helped by endorsing and recommending us to his contacts,” says Warski.
“We launched in December and so far it has been quite positive. People are really receptive to the concept.”
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for 2009-10 show there were 335,700 break-ins annually across the country, while the Australian Institute of Criminology estimates crime costs the nation $36 billion each year (4 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product).
The system can be recharged like a prepaid mobile service and is claimed to be the nation’s first pay-as-you-go alarm notification system for commercial and residential use.
“Prepaid credit expires after 365 days but the value rolls over after paying for a recharge. We are trying to enter the over-the -counter retail market just like buying credit for a mobile phone,” says Warski.