Security Sales asks veteran security professionals what they foresee as key trends for the industry

If you’ve ever tuned into ABC’s Nightline with Ted Koppel, you’ve probably seen the segment the late-night news program airs at the end of the year in which experts from all the major facets of society, such as politics, entertainment and sports, share their picks for the forthcoming year.

Security Sales has its own way of predicting the future of the security industry: ask top security professionals what they believe will be the trends for 1999.

Following are 10 trends experts envision for the New Year.

1. 3rd-Party Contract Monitoring Moves Toward Consolidation

During 1999, Lessing E. Gold, senior member of the corporate department for Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp LLP in Los Angeles, predicts, “There will be more consolidation of third-party monitoring companies.”

2. Dealers Fine-Tune Marketing Strategy

“In 1999, there will be more effective and marketable customer service programs initiated by individual alarm dealers,” contends Ron Davis, chairman of Security Associates Intl. of Arlington Heights, Ill.

3. Companies Will Forge Ahead in Integration

Joseph Freeman, president and CEO of J.P. Freeman Co. Inc. in Newtown, Conn., believes the new year will prompt large-sized dealers to develop more integrated expertise to justify expenditures to their faculty managers.

4. Personal Safety Devices Become Hot Niche

Ron Spiller, executive director of the Security Industry Association (SIA) in Alexandria, Va., predicts a significant increase in the use of personal security devices.

“By mid-year, hundreds of thousands of additional Americans will be walking around with activators in their pockets or purses.

5. Independent Dealers Will Organize, Regroup

Mac Hammond, president of Security Systems by Hammond in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., says, “The quality independent alarm dealer will organize for the purpose of sharing marketing, purchasing and management techniques to profitably compete in the face of the mass-marketers.”

6. Police Buckle Down on False Alarm Fines

“Police departments will become increasingly fed up with excessive false alarms. More jurisdictions will go to no-response or begin to levy fines on alarm companies, including third-party monitoring companies,” says Edward Bruerton, president of Anchor Alarm Inc. of Sandy, Utah.

7. IACP, Security Industry Will Form Alliance

“The police, through their International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), will ask the security industry to be partners with them in fighting against legislation to curtail the use of CCTV by the police for public surveillance applications,” notes Spiller.

8. Companies Take Steps to Crush Millennium Bug

In the past couple of years, professionals throughout the industry have heard endless discussion about year 2000 compliance (Y2K). Already some manufacturers have sent out literature to dealers, assuring them that their products have been tested and upgraded to accommodate for the new millennium, while others are making provisions to introduce upgraded software that will bring existing systems up to compliance.

9. Residential, Commercial Security Flourish

“Both the residential and commercial security upgrade markets will grow at an accelerated pace since: 1) mass-market residential systems currently installed are supported by poor service; and 2) owners will want to upgrade their system when their monitoring expires.

10. Utilities Will Be Forced to Rethink Security

Bruerton believes another key issue to keep an eye on is non-traditional alarm companies (utilities). “They will begin to rethink entering the alarm industry when they find out it’s not the ‘pot o’ gold’ they thought it was,” he says.

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