Editor’s Note: Security and AV Industries Are More Similar Than They Are Different

AV and physical security integrators are recognizing and embracing the same imperatives, including AI, recurring revenue and cloud migration.

Editor’s Note: Security and AV Industries Are More Similar Than They Are Different

Adobe Stock image by leowolfert.

There’s simply no doubt that the worlds of audiovisual technology and physical security have much more in common than they have differences.

I experienced this unity firsthand in September when I attended CEDIA Expo/Commercial Integrator Expo in Denver followed immediately by the Global Security Exchange (GSX) in Dallas.

Candidly, never having attended a security-related show before, I didn’t quite know what to expect from GSX.

My predecessor, Scott Goldfine, inculcated in me that the physical security market tends to be pretty conservative simply because the stakes are so incredibly high: Literally, people’s lives, property and livelihoods are on the line.

But, as I walked the show floor at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, I was taken by how much I heard about leveraging AI for predictive analytics, migrating to the cloud, embracing recurring monthly revenue (RMR) opportunities, etc.

Clearly, AV and security integrators are recognizing and embracing the same imperatives.

Then, in October, when I attended the Securing New Ground conference in New York City, I gained an even sharper view of how CI + SSI can serve AV and security integrators alike.

During a luncheon session that SAGE Integration vice president of human resources Lori Hudnall led, security industry stakeholders discussed a topic that I’ve covered in CI for years: best practices for recruiting and retaining top-tier talent.

Being a hiring manager myself for editorial roles, I took copious notes; reading through them, it strikes me that, whether your firm specializes in deploying digital signage networks or integrating access control systems, these tips can empower owners to run more successful businesses.

Arguably, cultivating a strong, appealing company culture is most important to successful recruitment and retention. Previous generations might have “checked their values at the door,” but Millennials and Gen Zers want to work for companies whose core philosophies resonate with their own.

Thus, the strongest integrators have clearly defined, compellingly stated core values that executive leadership fully subscribes to and mindfully cascades throughout the organization.

How the Physical Security and AV Industries Are Similar

Your company’s values cannot merely exist on a plaque or in a handbook; every day, each team member’s actions must breathe life into them. Whether it’s sustainability, DEI, social justice or something else, make sure your company gives associates something to rally around.

With respect to onboarding, the most well-adapted integration firms don’t merely toss new employees into the deep end; instead, they have a mindful, multi-step process with touchpoints at regular intervals. One example would be 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, six-month and one-year check-ins with new employees.

It’s also wise, during the interview process, to ask a candidate where they see themselves in, say, five years. Make sure that your organization (and their possible role) aligns with the vision that the candidate has for themselves.

If there’s a match and you hire the candidate, it’s a great idea to assign a mentor to that person. This is an effective way of passing along institutional knowledge and building a support system.

Finally, make sure to regularly update your employee handbook and give all new hires timely access.

Once someone is part of your organization and doing a great job, don’t forget to recognize them! Superstars are likelier to stay with an organization that acknowledges their achievements, so it’s wise to institute an awards program, hand out gift cards, offer opportunities to accrue extra PTO, etc., as a means of rewarding associates for their hard work.

More broadly, it’s also critical to engage with employees on a regular basis; these “temperature checks” will give you visibility into any brewing problems or internal discord. An effective method of doing this is to regularly conduct emailed employee-engagement surveys.

The mission for CI + SSI is the same as it always was for both brands: to help you run your business better. As I’ve gotten my feet wet at some physical security-focused events, I’ve come to learn that business enhancement strategies, just like technologies, are more similar than different.

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About the Author


Dan Ferrisi has been a B2B editorial professional since November 2004, covering the audio, video, lighting and music industries since the beginning of his career. Getting his start with Sound & Communications, he ascended from assistant editor, to associate editor, to eventually lead editor. He served as editor-in-chief of Commercial Integrator from November 2021 through August 2023 before being promoted to group editor, commercial and security, gaining oversight responsibility of the Security Sales & Integration brand, as well.

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