As with most any business, owners and managers typically spend their time seeking new prospects and channels on a regular basis. The low-voltage, electronic security, life-safety and integration business is no different. We are very fortunate to be part of an industry that offers such great diversity of opportunity.
Yet I find it almost humorous when I hear owners and managers suggest they are stuck in a corner with no real potential to increase their revenue because the market is already saturated with the services they offer. It’s really ridiculous that I even echo that statement here, given the endless opportunities for traditional-minded dealers and integrators to generate new types of revenues.
Some dealer organizations see expanding into the commercial market as the answer. Most have already made that leap and currently service both residential and commercial clients. I have written on more than one occasion about the great opportunities for structured and integrated residential and commercial systems and monitoring. It is all very valuable to consumers, business owners and our industry.
One specific area in the commercial, industrial and municipal channels that tends to be overlooked is network security and monitoring. Some very intuitive, experienced and trusted security providers in our industry have already embarked in this area. The technology has reached a point where an independent dealer can partner with a monitoring center and technology developer to offer these state-of-the-art services in addition to its existing portfolio.
These are services to assure confidentiality, integrity and availability beyond the firewall. They include professional IP device monitoring and VPN access offerings that are combined to create a world-class tool for systems integrators. The proposition redefines network access and device monitoring while keeping it simple and affordable.
Customers can also be part of the solution by monitoring their systems through reports and dashboards along with the professional monitoring center. Summary reports are E-mailed automatically on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Configuration reports give customers detailed information about all the devices in their group. The information you need is always at hand. In addition to summary and configuration reports, six months of audit reports can be made available to perform analytics and solve network issues.
Some individuals may state that this is too great of a departure from traditional security and life-safety systems. This may be true for those companies that offer only the most basic services; however, many companies that have expanded into integrated systems or IP-based commercial systems have had no choice but to expand on their levels of competencies.
Moreover, their customers require this level of monitoring and maintenance and may be subscribing to these services elsewhere. If they are not utilizing these types of services, then it is your job to illustrate why they need network and device monitoring systems. Any company that maintains a network, especially if this includes electronic security systems such as video surveillance and access control, must monitor the wellness of their networks and individual devices.
It brings to mind the old problem that once existed when we lived in an analog world. Remember when the big complaint from surveillance subscribers was that whenever they needed to review a video from their time-lapse recorders, they found they had a bad tape or recording? Well, the network services proposition in a digital world is a solution to a problem that is a thousand times greater than the analog conundrum. Whether it’s security or other IP-based devices, a network must always stay secure and healthy and processors need to process. The security industry is in a position to offer services and solutions that mitigate many issues, while creating potentially phenomenal revenues for our companies.
As I stressed earlier, although this is not for everyone, I believe that most well-rounded installing security dealer and integration companies are well suited to start enjoying the revenues and opportunities that network monitoring has to offer.
Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.