According to 12 industry leaders, advancement is due to technology, marketing and integration of out

In the past year, you have undoubtedly seen a number of “best of the century” lists. It seems that every magazine or television channel has created its own compilation of the 20th century’s most historic moments.

This constant barrage may have left you wondering, “Is someone putting together a list of the most important developments in my industry—security?”

The answer is yes! Security Sales  recently surveyed industry leaders, asking each to name the three most significant events influencing the security industry in the past century. The publication has compiled a definitive roster of the industry’s 10 biggest happenings in the 20th century.
1. Digital Communicator Creates Current Market

Other events in the industry pale in comparison to the creation of the digital communicator, which changed the industry by introducing remote monitoring and opening the residential market. Eleven of the 12 industry leaders surveyed specified the communicator (or dialer) as one of the top three innovations of the century.

This development helped spur the second most important event of the 20th century—the advent of recurring monthly revenue (RMR) from alarm monitoring.

2. RMR, Contract Monitoring Change Industry Focus

The use of the digital communicator finally made it possible for alarm companies to monitor their accounts and gain a new stream of income through RMR. It also created a boom for contract central monitoring and third-party monitoring companies.

3. Brink’s Breaks the Bank With Mass Marketing

When Brink’s introduced mass marketing to the security industry in 1984, fewer than 5 percent of homes had alarm systems.

“Alarm systems were seen, for the most part, only in upper income homes,” says Dan Jacquish, president of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA). “The Brink’s marketing plan changed this rapidly, with new pricing and marketing techniques that have grown the market to the more than 20-percent penetration that exists today.”

4. Microprocessors Boost Alarm Capabilities

A number of industry leaders point to the implementation of microprocessors in equipment as a significant technological step in alarm and monitoring advancement.

5. End of ADT Monopoly Signals New Era

The 1964 anti-trust action that ended the equipment and service stranglehold of Holmes, American District Telegraph (ADT), AFA and Grinnell Corp. blew the industry wide open for new competition.

6. AT&T Break Up Opens New Lines

Much as the ADT break up opened the industry, the dissolution of AT&T into the seven RBOCs allowed industry use of far less expensive telephone lines to monitor accounts.

7. Integration Benefits Suppliers and Users

“The slow but sure recognition of the ability to bundle and integrate other products and services into the alarm product sale has helped propel other industries into the business limelight,” Ron Davis, chairman of Security Associates Intl. (SAI), says. “Industries such as home automation, outdoor lighting, central vacuum systems, home entertainment and others have used security systems as the gateway into the customer’s home.”

8. Digital Technology Sweeps Across Industry

As anyone in the industry during this time of change can tell you, the digital communicator is not the only piece of digital equipment that has changed the way business is done. The digital revolution is just now taking hold of the industry.

9. Financing Arrives Better Late Than Never

Lessing E. Gold, senior member of the corporate department for Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp LLP in Los Angeles, says the mid-1980s recognition of financial institutions and the ability to use financing to acquire competitors changed the face of security.

10. ‘Affordable Systems’ Is No Longer an Oxymoron

What much of these technologi-cal, marketing and financing advances accomplished for the security industry in the 20th century can be seen today with the industry’s most affordable pricing ever.

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