With nearly half a century of experience, the Oberlander family knows protection systems. Oberlander Alarm Systems was started in April 1991 by Greg, Doug, and Wayne Oberlander and Steve Kuster, according to President Greg Oberlander. “Prior to this, the Oberlanders owned and operated Oberlander Protection Alarms from 1956 to 1988. In 1998, Oberlander Protection Alarms sold its business to Security Link, and after three short years, went back into business as Oberlander Alarm Systems.”

Oberlander said his family returned to the security business because their long-time involvement in the industry afforded them experience they wanted to share with central Illinois residents. “We felt we could provide better service than any of the other security system providers in the area. That vision has allowed for steady growth every year since we re-entered the market, adding several hundred customers per year.”

Oberlander Alarm Systems offers all of the services necessary to secure a local home or business. “We install, service, and monitor burglary, fire, holdup, panic, and all types of supervisory systems such as hi/lo temperature, power failure, etc.,” he said. “We also carry access control systems and CCTV systems. Our 24-hour monitoring station is located right here in Peoria and is a U.L. listed facility. Our service area is basically a 100-mile radius around Peoria.”

He said future endeavors will include Internet monitoring and video monitoring services and expects continued growth in all aspects of the business, especially in access systems and closed-circuit TV.

Oberlander said the company began with two employees and has 15 today. “We attribute our growth to quality products and services at very competitive rates. We provide fast, quality service, and are a locally owned and operated company—not a large national conglomerate—with good ethics and values. We give great personal service and take care of our customers’ problems or requests in the shortest possible time.”

He said over the years, the security industry has changed from simple relay controls to computer-based electronic devices. “Motion detectors from years past were very expensive and didn’t function well. Today’s motions have circuits built in for false alarm immunity. Today’s panels offer multiple user codes for tracking, zone shunting, multiple partitions, and schedules—opening a whole new area. Cameras today are considerably less expensive and can practically see in the dark. They can include video motion detectors and digital recording and archiving. Access control systems address who, where, and when an event occurs with easy report generation and easy changes—no more changing the locks and keys,” he explained.

Two of the biggest misconceptions the public has about alarm systems are that they’re too expensive and false alarms happen frequently, Oberlander said. “Actually, prices have come down in the past few years, and the equipment is much better. As far as false alarms go, more than 75 percent are user error. Therefore, proper training is a must. Today’s systems are very user-friendly and give great peace of mind to business owners and homeowners. Many customers receive insurance discounts for having monitored systems.”

Another misconception is that these systems are simply for burglary protection. “Some systems are designed to minimize theft or loss, as well. The burglar alarm systems can also relay open/close reports by user code numbers, allowing owners and managers to know the times of employee entry,” he explained.

Oberlander said customer satisfaction has been the company’s key component in its advertising plan. “The best marketing tool is word of mouth. However, we use traditional methods such as direct mail, the Yellow Pages, InterBusiness Issues, etc. We also have a Web site at Oberlanderalarms.com.”

The best aspect of his business is when everything works as it should, and clients benefit from Oberlander’s services. “It’s rewarding when alarm systems are activated and it’s the real thing—minimizing our customers’ losses from theft or property damage.”

The most challenging? Keeping up with the latest technology, he said. “Alarm manufacturers are just now going into the 21st century with advanced products the end-user can appreciate and afford.” IBI