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Safe Kiosks and Profits From Security

May 1, 2009

Securing a kiosk or cart against theft, especially during off hours, is an important consideration that can be addressed with an affordable closed circuit television system. Yet theft is not the only occurrence that can rob a business of profits. CCTV systems can also guard against liability suits, such as so called, "slip and trip," claims. While theft and lawsuits are always a concern among retailers of all kinds, the incidence of both tend to increase in hard economic times. Homeowners and other business owners are also becoming increasingly concerned about security.

T-Tronics Inc. in Riverhead, NY offers a series of off the shelf, pre-made CCTV systems, also called, Digital Video Recording (DVR) systems, that not only meet the security needs of kiosk and cart vendors, but also provide them with highly appealing, easy to install systems to sell to others. These kits range in price from as little as $450 to $2,000. "The systems are turnkey, plug and play systems designed for do it yourself installation," says Troy Reynolds, an owner of the company. While they are designed for do it yourself installation, T-Tronics also provides free support, either over the web or via a toll free number.

A system typically includes cameras, a DVR recording device, cables, a power supply and software. "The user simply takes everything out of the box, spreads the components out and connects them," Reynolds says. "It can't be put together incorrectly. It's designed so that the components only fit together one way: the right way." All of the systems are networkable, Reynolds says, explaining that the DVR, via access through Internet Explorer, acts as a web server, allowing the operator/kiosk vendor or kiosk customer to access the digital video from a personal computer. "We can either tie the DVR into a router via an IP address or a domain name. It is then on a network, accessible by a user name and password from any computer," says Reynolds. The systems come with application software.

Although T-Tronics can provide a TV monitor, he says, "Big box electronics chains can sell a monitor at a better price. The monitor is an option," he adds. "The kiosk vendor can use a PC monitor in the kiosk or can record a second copy of the DVR at his or her home computer." The user has full control of the system, according to Reynolds. "It can be set up to connect the DVR to a motion detector in which a motion event will trigger the recording. It can also be hooked up with a siren and/or strobe light, which would not only trigger the DVR but also potentially deter a potential thief. The strobe light, siren or motion detector can also tie in with an email alert. "If, for example, the kiosk closes at nine," Reynolds explains, "and the system detects motion or intrusion, it can send that selected part of the recording via email."

A typical system includes four cameras and a 160 gigabyte hard drive. "That will record up to five to seven days of activity," says Reynolds. Much in the same way a handheld tape recorder will record over previous recordings, once the DVR gets down to one gig, it over writes the oldest information. As a result, the user always has the most recent recordings and never has to reload the DVR.

Reynolds describes his company's $699 DVR system, which he says, "Is generally more than enough to provide coverage for a kiosk or cart." It contains four cameras, which can be mounted on a beam, wall, under a cabinet or wherever the vendor wants to place them.

The cameras are infra red, so they can see in total darkness. The cameras are always on, always capable of feeding the DVR at any sign of motion. "The DVR is easy to store in a kiosk or cart," Reynolds says, noting, "it is about the size of an external drive."

This system is the company's most popular. It has a direct VGA output to a monitor, or can be used with a normal PC monitor. This is especially advantageous for a kiosk vendor that wants to let employees and customers know they are being watched. Visible monitors often deter theft." The operator of the system has full control in establishing the set up," Reynolds notes. "The kiosk vendor can do all settings from the kiosk or from home."

The difference among T-Tronics' several turnkey systems is related to the number and type of hardware options, including cameras and DVRs. There are even systems in which the user can view cameras from a PDA. The turnkey systems come in retail packaging, making it easy for vendors to sell systems to homeowners and other businesses. "There are five different kits, and we can provide literature to help the vendor merchandise the kits from the kiosk or cart," Reynolds says. "We will provide brochures that are printed with the kiosk vendor's own identity, address, phone number or logo. This not only helps sell the kits and systems, but also leads referral business to the vendor. "Because of increased interest in home security, our company's sales of residential systems has increased 45 percent in the past year," Reynolds reports.

A kiosk vendor that wants to secure his own business and also test reselling the systems gets a significant discount when buying five to 10 boxed systems. "The wholesale prices are negotiable," Reynolds says, "and we suggest a 20 to 30 percent mark up on each of five different kits that range from $490 to $699." In other words, the vendor can buy five at a discount, keep one for the cart or kiosk, and sell the others at a profit. "Furthermore, he can use his own installation to demonstrate features to consumers," Reynolds points out, adding, "demonstration is an excellent sales closer. People are impulse buyers, and when they see the system's capabilities, they realize how important it is to secure their home or business, and also see how easy it is to obtain security." He says the T-Tronics kits pair well in a kiosk or cart that sells electronics. That includes handheld electronics, such as iPhones, iPods, MP3 players and other devices.

In addition to its complete DVR turnkey, plug and play security system kits, T-Tronics can also customize systems for kiosk vendors, and equally important, for vendors' customers. The company sets up a unique service for kiosk vendors that sell its systems. It creates the reseller's account on its website, on which components of a customized system are shown, described and listed. "We'll set the vendor's discounted prices for each item up, so the vendor can see what it will cost to create a custom kit. He can then determine what he needs to sell these items for, in order to make the margin he needs," Reynolds explains.

The kiosk vendor can get live support for any questions that arise during the selling process. In addition to live chat and live online support, a tech consultant can also be reached on the toll free number. This support is free. And it does not apply just to the vendor who sells the system, but also to the consumer who buys it. "This support is available to the vendor's customer," Reynolds says. Although installation is foolproof, if needed, a T-Tronics representative will set up an appointment to walk through the home installation or answer any question the customer has. "Sometimes evenings are best for the customer," notes Reynolds, which is why he offers the phone appointment option.

To maximize sales and close them faster, a kiosk or cart vendor would do well to be equipped with some statistics regarding break ins and vulnerability. Local information, including news stories in the local papers, may be available and persuasive. In addition, statistics are available from the FBI, among other credible sources. For example, the FBI reports that a home with a security system is 15 times less likely to be victimized.

Another selling point for homeowners and business owners is the potential to save on insurance premiums. The kiosk vendor may be able to obtain information from a local insurer on how such security systems help lower rates. In addition to complete kits and custom CCTV systems, T-Tronics is also a source for a variety of security system components and accessories. They include brackets for mounting cameras, additional cameras and other items. The use of an account on the website can help a vendor become a source of security equipment in his trading area, while helping the kiosk to additional profit opportunities and lucrative referral business.

For more information, contact:

Troy Reynolds, an owner and VP

T-Tronics Inc.
454 Union Avenue
Riverhead, NY 11901
Toll Free: 888-672-1070
Tel.: 631-326-6034
Fax: 631-460-9006

Topic: Kiosk Korner

Related Articles: kiosk 

Article ID: 1046

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