I have observed an interesting dichotomy in the personality traits of most security professionals, one that I too identify with. While typically exhibiting the serious demeanor and guarded skepticism one might expect in a business revolving around safety and security, a great deal of those who own and operate installing companies are also good-humored and optimistic. These people contribute enormously to this industry’s character and dimension. Their resiliency and resolve is not only evident in direct interaction but also manifested in research SSI conducts like the Systems Integrator Study.
The overall results of the study are decidedly mixed — depicting an industry battling a lingering economic malaise and in the early stages of recapturing its prerecession glory. The economy remains the No. 1 concern (and this was before the Japan disaster), followed closely by eroding gross margins. Yet 71.4 percent of survey respondents have either an outstanding or optimistic outlook for 2011, a 7-percentage-point improvement compared to a year ago. And amid widespread salary declines, 73.7 percent say they are either very satisfied or satisfied in their current jobs.
I interviewed a few respondents to get additional insight into some of the survey’s topics. Here is some of what they had to say (for more, see my “Retail Intrusion Market Roars Back, New Research Shows” blog):
Recession Impact and 2011 Outlook
“Our backlogs are not as many as there were and we are feeling the impact of that, but we are starting to build up a new backlog. Our goal this year is to add many more RMR accounts to our base. We are installing the AES radios and this looks promising for us.”
— Chuck Ruth, Sales Team Leader; WSA Systems, Boca Raton, Fla.
“It is very hard to keep up with employee benefits, vehicle fuel and maintenance and give any salary increases. We are also getting hit very hard by corporate clients moving to global service contracting, such as Johnson Controls.”
— Jose Sanchez Flores, President; Puerto Rico Alarm Systems Inc., Dorado, PR
“Historically, when the economy is up investment is made in infrastructure, but when it’s down they tend to spend on securing their assets. For us, 2010 ended on a high note, and we have already booked half as much in the first quarter of 2011 as we did in all of 2010.”
— Richard Shaffer, General Manager; PCT Security LLC, Clinton Township, Mich.
IP vs. Analog Camera Sales
“IP sales are ramping up for integrators that have a history of analog CCTV experience. Integrators that provide prospects with information on both alternatives are bound to increase their overall sales. We continue strong growth for both technologies and honestly don’t see either one pulling away right now. We know that is bound to change but old habits are hard to break.”
— Brad Hoff, Security Systems Specialist; Thompson Electronics Co., Peoria, Ill.
“I am still not riding the IP wave. I have exposed different products to some of my current clients and the objections remain constant. The cost of the equipment and bandwidth, among other issues, simply did not justify the change from their analog. I am looking for a point of equilibrium where it would justify the high investment.”
— Virgil Batista, Sales Director; LV Technologies Inc., Miami, Fla.
Having IT Specialists on Staff
“While the ghosts of bandwidth lost are less scary for most IT departments, we still need to have someone who can talk the talk and make them feel comfortable with the system being placed on their network.”
“There are very few systems that do not require a direct connection to an existing LAN. We have been dispatching our IT programmers for the past 10 years to the site, and are currently using GoToAssist for remote support assistance to try to keep our travel costs down and increase the performance of our ever-growing IT department.”
Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 12 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.