Trying to reinvent the wheel is an often fatal blunder made by millions of security dealers. It’s the type of ammunition that Goliath companies use to eliminate the small, independent Davids of the industry.
It’s not to say that small firms are doomed to extinction; however, if they wish to remain competitive, they should consider a more specialized niche market.
Access control, for example, has opened the doors to opportunity. By integrating applications — such as card access — with facility management, CCTV and video ID badging, dealers can catapult themselves into a whole new arena of recurring revenue.
“For the past five years to six years, we’ve been very involved in the full integrated security package. Idesco has a bigger claim to fame in the world of ID badging, but like everyone else, we’re just doing what we can for our clients,” says Andrew J. Goldstone, vice president of sales and marketing for Idesco Corp. in New York City. “More people now want us to do work for them in the world of access control and other security functions.”
CCTV Is Packaged With Facility Management
As installing companies become more involved with larger systems, they find that end users are opting for more flexibility and accessibility in a product. The demand for an integrated system has grown to include pan, tilt and zoom cameras.
Today’s security/facility management systems are well suited for large-sized jobs, such as manufacturing plants, hospitals, etc. These software-based systems can operate via Windows 95 or Windows NT.
“Primarily, our market niche has been in the commercial industrial management market place, which includes office buildings, and office and industrial parks,” says Terry Mullett, manager of business development for Trans-Alarm Inc. in Burnsville, Minn.
ID Cards Expand into Video Imaging
Goldstone contends that video imaging is the key to integrating with card access, because if you put a person in the system, you’ll want to only do it once. The same goes for if you need to take a person out of the system, you want to only do it once.”
Mullett also sees ID badging as a way of offering his clients more alternatives. In addition to providing video imaging systems, dealers can offer the card printers as part of a comprehensive package.
Y2K Compliance Is Sore Spot for Industry
Although technology seems to be traveling at record speeds, year 2000 compliance (Y2K) has dealers worried about software systems becoming paralyzed once the stamped time/date reads: 01-01-00.
“There’s a phenomenal concern that probably started a year ago. And only in the past six months has it really become a real ‘hot’ button to the point where these major corporations have [formed] committees to look at year 2000 compliance and to really push it through and watch it very carefully,” says Corey.
Make Sure Vendor Meets Specific Criteria
For dealers who are considering expanding their business to include integrated access control, remember to choose your vendors carefully. Goldstone suggests finding out how long the manufacturer has been around and whether it has substantial financial backing.
It’s also advisable to make certain the prospective vendor is up to date with the latest technology. Also, it’s imperative that you find out if that company’s product is Y2K compliant. Ask the manufacturer if factory support is available seven days a week. Does the company have the ability to advance or exchange components?
“Dealers need to focus and standardize a group of core products and services so that they can do that extremely well before they move on to add other products to their arsenal of security equipment,” advises Corey. “There’s nothing worse than a client buying a system and not being able to have it supported by the [installing company], because that company doesn’t know how it works.”