Manufacturers, Installers Will Work Together to Protect Brand Names, Industry

SSI is 25 years young. To celebrate, this issue reflects on the people, events, technology and trends that helped make the industry what it is today. Having spent 23 years in this industry, I’ve seen many of these developments firsthand, and I believe they have led us to the beginning of a major metamorphosis. Rather than dwell on the past, I would like to look to the future and outline what may transpire in the next 25 years.

Manufacturing Giants – One of the biggest changes in recent years has been the influx of large corporate conglomerates into the manufacturing sector. I don’t believe our industry is large enough to sustain the growth and return-on-investment demands of shareholders. Therefore, I foresee a shakeout.

Unlike clothing, shelter and other necessities, not everyone needs security. Our studies indicate the average SSI reader is an industry veteran with at least 12 years of experience. These folks are not apt to change products or vendors or experiment with new technology on a whim. It’s the installing dealer who controls the manufacturing growth cycle.

This can mean frustration for corporate executives unfamiliar with the unique mindset and decision-making process of the typical installation company. Although the corporate world is upon us, most installers are entrepreneurial or family owned.

Eventually, we’ll see a conglomerate attempt to control its destiny by producing, selling and installing its own equipment. I also see new corporations entering the commercial systems installation sector to garner larger nationwide projects.

Dealer Programs – Unlike today’s dealer programs, the installing electronic security contractor of tomorrow will become a franchised partner of the conglomerates. Don’t panic, this can actually be a good thing!

This model will give corporations a way to control quality, pricing, installation, reliability and public perception of their brand name, and enable installation companies to get projects, training and support they otherwise would not while still maintaining their independence.

The days of having a minimally skilled installer slapping in a familiar consumer brand name product and having it fail because of improper installation will cease. This is essential for the health of manufacturing (in terms of protecting the value of its brand name across product lines) and installation (in terms of guarding the industry’s reputation).

Access Control Consolidation – There will be a consolidation of access control manufacturers. Unlike burglary, fire and CCTV, there are no dominant players in the access control systems arena. All have their own proprietary software, but most don’t communicate openly with other databases without some type of data conversion or software modules. Open architecture will play a significant role in establishing software compatibility and standardization. However, it won’t happen until manufacturers learn how to protect themselves from competition on the hardware side.

IP-Addressable Security – In new construction or retrofit overhauls, there will be parallel networks connected to various servers within an organization. The IT expert will serve as a traffic manager, overseeing information flow and interoperability of the various sub-networks. Department officers will operate their own sub-network as needed. All will work autonomously within predetermined corporate parameters.

CCTV Advances – Advances in CCTV will keep even the most educated gurus on their toes. Object-tracking technology will be in demand for large facilities that want a “smart” system. You’ll be able to follow a person from one camera’s range to another that is automatically activated. And, DVRs will become user-friendlier.

Wireless Products – We will see the influence of WiFi, and perhaps Bluetooth, technology in future wireless products. New players will enter the industry with transmitter/receiver modules capable of using existing equipment to transmit VDV (voice, data, video) over the airwaves, thus eliminating wiring and cables. This will open new doors for access control and CCTV.

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