Newly Launched Franchisor EYESthere is Delivering a Unique Twist to Serving Customers in Digital Video Security Marketplace
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Newly Launched Franchisor EYESthere is Delivering a Unique Twist to Serving Customers in Digital Video Security Marketplace

(Carrollton, TX)---They have yet to reach the point where they are finishing each other's sentences, but it is clearly evident the business partnership between Rick Rene and Randy Andrews is clicking on all cylinders.

Rene is the 43-year-old CEO of EYESthere, a franchised, high-quality provider of turnkey, customized digital video and software security solutions to businesses and residential customers. A former key executive with both Accenture and Excel Communications during successful IPOs, Rene founded EYESthere and in July 2006 purchased the assets of Logan Digital Security, a digital video security company founded in 2002 by the 40-year-old Andrews, who Rene calls one of the industry's "top talents in the world."

The two were seemingly brought together by fate. After Rene left global consulting leader Accenture in June 2006 - where he sold and delivered more than $25 million worth of consulting work during the industry's 2003-2004 recession - he sought to enter the franchising arena but couldn't find what he perceived to be a good value in the market. At the same time, Andrews, who had founded several companies himself and developed a reputation as a software security expert, was looking for a viable partner to help grow well-reputed and fast-growing Logan Digital Security, based in Portland.

Since merging their considerable talent into EYESthere, what has emerged is a franchise concept that Rene believes can dominate the highly fragmented digital video security market with customized solutions and unparalleled customer service that not only protects business customers' property, premises and people, but also empowers them with a new type of business tool that can increase efficiency and help them to manage more productively.

With two corporate-owned locations in Portland and Dallas, EYESthere launched its franchising program in March 2007. The company expects to have 210 locations in major markets throughout the country by 2010. There's a ready-made market. Countless businesses across the country still rely on VCR tapes, low-quality cameras or off-the-shelf systems for their security needs, but the industry is evolving. According to IMS Research, the world market for network video surveillance products increased by 41.9 percent in 2006 and by 2010 the market for such services is expected to exceed $2.6 billion.

Rene and Andrews, who serves as EYESthere vice president of product development and chief solution architect, were introduced to each other by a business broker. At the time, Andrews was servicing hundreds of clients in the Pacific Northwest with Logan Digital Security, but he was a "one-man show" handling sales, ordering parts and installing systems. He had reached a crossroads.

"I had a profitable business, but I definitely needed to grow it," Andrews said. "It was a tall order to find a business partner who was extremely compatible and shared my vision for the company, but who also brought a different skill set than mine. I asked Rick to build a business plan based on what he thought he could do. I was incredibly excited. He calls me the founder, but he's the one that founded the vision for EYESthere."

In Rene, Andrews found a partner who is not only a self-described "gadget geek," with three laptops and two desktop computers along with four DVRs in his home, but has the business acumen to match his tech passion. As the CIO of Excel Communications, Rene worked for now-billionaire Kenny Trout and oversaw more than 400 employees and contractors as the company grew nearly 300 percent in less than 1 1/2 years.

"I've always been a guy that has been intrigued by technology and how to make my life better through it," Rene said. "But the acquisition of the assets of Logan Digital Security was about more than acquiring a fast-growth and proven business model, it was more an acquisition of Randy Andrews' expertise since he is one of the top talents in the digital video security industry."

The market for digital video security systems has become increasingly competitive with locally owned, large regional and national chains all vying for customers. But only EYESthere has a dedicated focus to being an original solutions provider of digital video security. EYESthere offers solutions that are truly usable such as the ability to review entire days of recordings in minutes since cameras only record motion and offer high-speed point-and-click review; 24/7 live video viewable from any web browser or supported PDA; full-service installs that can be completed in days; and 30- and 90-day performance tuning and support assistance.

Most competitors offer only a mixed bag of programs and services. But because EYESthere will also focus heavily on improved employee and management productivity through creative uses of simple video conferencing, remote training, and the reduction of travel for business owners and managers, it provides solutions that are used constantly to not only protect, but also empower a business.

"It's amazing to me how this market has gone untapped," Rene said. "The meat and potatoes of this business is replacing outdated VCR technology, but the business tools we offer can substantially increase the sophistication level for companies. And as the pricing comes down and the technology becomes more mainstream in the coming years, we expect to see increased interest from the residential market."

Andrews said EYESthere stands apart in the industry because it provides the necessary training and expertise in sales, marketing, technology, networking and other specialized categories to truly service customers and allow them to fully utilize digital video technology.

"I have seen several very smart and capable people struggle to succeed in this marketplace, not because the market is not there, but because they did not have the type of training and support that EYESthere provides," Andrews said.

While EYESthere expects to have 210 locations in operation by 2010, it has targeted 530 potential franchise locations throughout the United States. Prospective franchisees aren't required to have a technical background and EYESthere expects to attract strong interest from individuals with corporate experience and proven business development skills.

With its corporate headquarters in the Dallas-Forth Worth metroplex, EYESthere is looking to that market for initial franchise growth as it seeks to take advantage of existing marketing campaigns. Elsewhere, Rene said, "we are looking for the most talented franchisees vs. targeting specific territories. But once we establish a presence in a market we will target surrounding areas to better utilize branding opportunities."

An EYESthere franchise can be launched with only three employees, including a sales representative and technician – but unlike other no-inventory, no-employee industry competitors – it can be quickly scaled into a large-volume business. Franchisees will also benefit from a national sales force responsible for attracting multi-city and multi-state customers.

"We will have a motivated, local workforce," Rene said of EYESthere, which has a moderate initial franchise investment of $187,350 to $294,950. "Franchising allows you to think globally, but act locally. Our franchisees will benefit from economies of scale and national marketing and branding programs, while our customers benefit from having a business owner who is committed to serving a local customer base. That's the beauty of what we're creating."

What most excites Rene and Andrews is that EYESthere has assembled all the critical elements of a successful franchise offering: a dynamic product offering; a strong, well-developed concept; the ability to stand apart in a fragmented and largely undeveloped marketplace; substantial training and support programs and an experienced and committed leadership and management team.

"The country is suffering with no true national company that understands this technology," Rene said. "Most of this work is done 'part-time' by local or regional security contractors. EYESthere is going to elevate service and usability to new standards so our customers see digital video security as a true value-added business tool."



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