Safety and security is a common topic to think about for both homeowners and business owners. All-Star Security and Communications, a smaller independent firm was started in 1989 initially as a NY State-based firm. Wilton resident John Schiaroli joined as a business partner and All-Star has been licensed in CT since 2005.
With a dedicated staff of technicians and monitoring employees in Fairfield County, they’re making a push to grow the business locally. They work with both residential and commercial clients.
According to Schiaroli, the latest trend in residential security systems really incorporates not just security but the ability to digitally control almost everything that happens in the home remotely.
“One thing that’s been a constant in the security industry is central-station monitoring. It’s what everyone has had for years. That service still exists but it’s been taken to a whole other level, where a security system is more a ‘lifestyle service.’ You’re talking about not just an alarm, but you can control your whole house from your smart phone with the system; you can have cameras; you can turn your alarm on and off remotely if you had workers coming in and out of the house; you can watch who is ringing the doorbell at your front door, even if you’re not there; if your on vacation you can control your heat and make sure your garages are closed. You can fully integrate your home, an be fully in control of your home, anyplace, anytime, as much or as little as you want to control.”
When such smart home technology first hits the scene, it starts off expensive and then after some time becomes affordable. Schiaroli says such comprehensive systems are more in reach than ever before. “It’s become much more affordable in comparison to what such a system would have cost, even five years ago.”
But each client’s needs and abilities are different; you may not have to spend an arm and a leg, but at the minimum, Schiaroli recommends security company monitoring of the most important functions.
“What’s critically important to every family is monitored smoke detectors, monitored carbon monoxide detectors–that’s critical stuff. If you have kids coming home after school, maybe they’re of age where they can be home alone but if the CO2 alarm is going off, they’re not necessarily going to call 9-1-1. But if it’s monitored, the service will call the fire department. So at the base you have that, and you can get alerts to your phone even if you’re not home and not there.”
Of course, living here in Wilton and Fairfield County, where the power goes out more frequently than we prefer, there’s a solution for that. “We make sure, because it’s not very expensive, that people take advantage of battery backup, cellular backup. The power lines go down, now you’ve got no phone, you’ve got nothing–but you can still have an emergency. The system can still dial out to protect your family when the power is out.”
Considering a smaller firm like All-Star might also help bring down costs.
“We pride ourselves on being very competitive; our central station monitoring starts at $14.95 per month for basic coverage–your basic alarm, your CO2, your smoke detectors. For $199 you can get a system installed with three-points of protection and pay $14.95 a month, and you’re starting with a system that can expand to as much or as little as you want.”
Sometimes All-Star is able to use hardware and equipment that may have been installed by a previous monitoring company. “Even if we can’t use it, it’s easy to just change out devices. We typically will walk into a home and do a full security evaluation. We’ll make sure everything is up and running, checking each door and window contact, to make sure what’s working and what’s not and see what’s compatible. We don’t just walk in and rip everything out. We try to reuse wires if that’s what is preferred, or we can do wireless if people don’t want holes drilled in your home. Certainly in the area where we live, in antique homes, some people don’t want to drill holes, and they don’t have to but they can still be secure.”
Commercial security concerns are a little different than residential ones. Schiaroli says a bigger emphasis for business clients is fire protection. “We do a lot of business with small and medium size companies, especially anyone with a kitchen. Anyone who’s cooking for a business has to have a fire alarm to open the doors for business. So we do a lot of work with restaurants, with big warehouses, as well as the burglary protection side, which is the other piece of our business.
The reason fire protection is so big when it comes to commercial accounts? “Small, medium or large sized companies, they all need it, because you are taking responsibility for people’s lives who are coming to work. It protects your investments. It’s a whole other set of liabilities. If you’re in your home and you don’t protect yourself to fire, that’s your choice. But businesses have to.”
As a small business owner, there’s something beneficial Schiaroli hopes potential clients will recognize about working with a local, smaller company from the Wilton community.
“There are bigger players, no two ways about it. ADT is the biggest. But working with someone in your community, working with a smaller company, you get a different level of service. When you’re calling to schedule a service call, you’re speaking to the people that run the business, versus a call center in the middle of nowhere. They’re running down a script and may not understand what’s going on. All of our people answer the phone–these are trained employees who understand what it is you’re talking about, they know the equipment, they can look at our database to see what was installed so they can identify what needs to be done so that when we come out to do service, we’re not wasting your time all day. And we’re local–if we need to run out and get another part, we can just go get it,” he said, adding, “We work here, we live here, we may be biased but we think it’s great.”
One thing Schiaroli says they live by is emphasizing the personal relationships you build in a community.
“At the core of our business, the thing that’s really helped the business grow since ’89 is building relationships. Whether it’s residential, commercial, or business relationships, the business has been built on building relationships. We know the industry, we know what to do, we’re up on what’s new, we know all the codes in all the municipalities. But relationships and personal service is something that we pride ourselves on. It’s not what you get with a big company.”
To contact Schiaroli directly, either email him or call 888-729-1495.