Guilbeau Says Good Things Ahead for Those Embracing Change in 2015

The Electronic Security Association’s Merlin Guilbeau predicts where he thinks the security industry is headed in 2015.

The January edition of SSI includes our annual industry forecast as a cornerstone of our special 2015 Industry Forecast Issue. For the piece, I interviewed more than 20 of the industry’s most knowledgeable market analysts, business experts, security dealers, systems integrators, supplier representatives and trade association directors. Some of their perspectives can be found in the magazine article, with the balance of their assessments appearing in separate blog posts.

Featured in this installment: Merlin Guilbeau, Executive Director of the Electronic Security Association (ESA)

What are some of the major security technology and market developments you see for 2015?

Merlin Guilbeau: The rapid pace of technological advancement that our industry is experiencing is both an opportunity and a challenge for security companies. Wireless technology and the Internet of Things [IoT] creates an environment where there is ease of installation and also increased lifestyle benefits translating into higher consumer demand. However, security companies are challenged in keeping pace with all of the new products coming to market. We recently launched the ESA Product Selection Guide to help our members walk through a methodical process in evaluating new products and services to add to their overall offering.

There are new business models that have been developed and some companies are struggling with how to structure their businesses for success in the future. Traditional security companies are considering adding DIY security solutions among other services to their offering. Strategizing on how to build out their business models can be challenging and in many cases these new models will look very different than their existing models.

What are some of the security business and operations changes you see manufacturers and dealers contending with in 2015?

Guilbeau: A key challenge for many supplier companies in 2015 and beyond will be keeping pace with the new entrants to the market and remaining relevant in the face of disruptive technologies that are shaking up the industry. The IoT is redefining our world and how we do things.

Manufacturers and service providers must outpace the new entrants to maintain their market share. ESA continues to educate security companies on the pitfalls of doing business without contracts or with poorly written contracts. Just as technology has evolved, contracts have been evolving as well. It is vitally important that security dealers, integrators and monitoring centers continually update their contracts to keep up with the changes in the industry.

Monitoring of fire alarm systems continues to be challenged by the reduction in POTS lines and the lack of approved alternative communication methods for required systems.

What do you see as one of 2015’s top security challenges?

Guilbeau: Hiring and retaining quality talent is an industrywide challenge. ESA has embarked on a workforce development project with the goal of educating potential candidates on the merits of working within the security industry. The project is designed to attract new pools of talent to the industry through a public relations campaign and a set of dealer tools that will be launched in February at the ESA Leadership Summit.

What type of year in 2015 are you anticipating for suppliers, dealers and monitoring providers?

Guilbeau: All signs point to a strong growth year for supplier companies. The economy is growing and with that comes additional consumer and end user spending that should translate into increased revenues. We also anticipate a very strong growth year for our member companies.

Preliminary data from our ESA Member Profile Study is showing that nearly all companies are reporting average annual growth of 14% for 2014 vs. 2013 and they are expecting the trend to continue into 2015. The market should expect to see a very active mergers and acquisitions environment as many business owners execute their exit strategy while multiples are high.

Monitoring providers should also see RMR increasing in 2015 as overall commercial and residential market penetration increases.

What are some pressing security industry issues you expect to remain unresolved?

Guilbeau: Companies are challenged with developing and executing a solid plan for transitioning their installed based from 2G to alternative alarm communications. Security companies must their upgrade plan and roll it out in 2015. ESA recommends that companies use this as an opportunity to swap out 2G communicators during service calls and/or bundle free upgrades with contract extensions. Also, the need for training is growing very quickly in our industry as new entrants bring large pools of technicians that need to be properly trained and licensed. ESA expects to see dramatic increases in training demand that our National Training School [NTS] is well positioned to fill.

What is something that might surprise security professionals in 2015?

Guilbeau: Some municipalities are issuing fines not only for false intrusion alarms but also for false fire alarms. This highlights the need to stay informed of legislative issues. ESA members are encouraged to read the monthly state legislative reports that we publish and to take an active role to advocate for favorable legislation and make their voice heard by opposing onerous legislation.

Any other opportunities to keep a lookout for in 2015?

Guilbeau: The ESA Leadership Summit in February and ESX in June are fantastic opportunities for decision-makers from security companies to gain business intelligence information and keep up with the latest industry trends. The industry should also expect to see an increase in the number of RFPs coming from schools that need to upgrade their existing security solutions or completely overhaul their entire security plan. ESA has developed guidelines to help with this process that can be accessed here as

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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