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Study Pinpoints Security Systems Integrator Hotspots

The security systems integration business is rattling as much as humming, with operators continuing to extricate themselves from economic quicksand. SSI’s eighth annual Systems Integrator Study highlights the fits and starts of recovering profitability, as well as numerous positive trends for companies to zero in on.

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If you were to plot out the current fortunes of security systems integrators as a chart you would find yourself staring at a bell-shaped line graph. The apex or midpoint would reflect the fact that the highest percentage of those businesses leaned toward breaking even revenue wise during 2011, with approximately equal numbers falling on either side of doing better or worse than that. It’s certainly not the ascending pattern of widespread growth most of us would prefer to see, but nor is it the descending course of extreme market hardships.

SSI’s eighth annual Systems Integration Study shows the most common response when asked to compare 2011’s revenues and gross profit margin to 2010 was “About even (flat, 1% up or down).” Both marked rises from the previous survey and there were fewer integrators reporting revenues or margin improvements. Similarly, fewer companies reported gross sales revenues in excess of $5 million. It’s no wonder more than half the integrators say the recession continues to have a major impact, staffing and salaries remain closely watched, and outlooks are more pessimistic.

Yet there are many rays of light piercing through the data. New systems installations are up 12 percentage points from a year ago, possibly signifying the recession’s end-user spending slowdown is finally subsiding. The residential market is exhibiting gains in both access control and video surveillance business, indicating the housing/construction collapse may be waning and a market that may be coming of age for those types of advanced technologies. Also up is the fire/life-safety segment. Furthermore, managed access control, IP video cameras, new systems, video management (VMS) and physical security information management (PSIM) solutions, analytics and, especially, megapixel cameras are riding upward trajectories.

That’s just a snapshot of the wealth of information presented within the 2012 Systems Integration Study. Initiated in February by Bobit Business Media’s Research Department with support from PSA Security Network, the survey was distributed to thousands of security integrators nationwide. Of the 399 completed surveys submitted, 177 met the systems integrator criteria as installing primarily integrated video surveillance and/or access control systems, and the majority of accounts not being monitored burglary/fire alarm systems.

Looking at the overall thrust of this year’s study, if the bell mentioned at the outset was real, its ring would resonate the need for integrators to continue implementing efficiencies and pursuing opportunities with the same take-no-prisoners fervor they did at the peak of the recession. The greatest success will come to those with both the smarts and stomach it takes to persevere these challenging times. The fortitude of the latter is up to the individual, the intelligence of the former is greatly enhanced with the research that follows.

Click here to view SSI’s eighth annual Systems Integration Study.

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 12 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125.

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Article Topics
Business Management · Systems Integration · Research · Industry Research · Research - Security STATS · Systems Integration Study · Systems Integrator Study · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
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Industry Research, Research - Security STATS, Systems Integration Study, Systems Integrator Study

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