Pakech Says Mass Notification Can Light a Fire Under Dealers’ 2015 Business
David Pakech of Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power, discusses the issues he thinks most affect the overall security industry and more.
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: David Pakech, V.P. of sales, Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power
What are some of the major fire/life-safety market developments you see for 2015?
David Pakech: The education, health-care and multifamily building markets are forecasted to grow in 2015, along with industrial building markets, as it relates to the oil and gas industry in certain pockets of the country. A big hurdle for our industry is the convergence of different players, such as Verizon and Comcast, who are now throwing their hats into the security arena. Local dealers are going to need to find ways to differentiate themselves from these new players, as well as the larger companies that have a national footprint. And from a manufacturing standpoint, there are more aggressive suppliers overseas, trying to break into the U.S. security market. We also have to contend with some political policies, which could stunt the growth of the fire/security market. The reductions in government funding for many infrastructure projects can have a profound effect on our market, as can continued unfriendly corporate tax policies.
What are some of the factors shaping business and operations throughout the channel during 2015?
Pakech: The rapid rate of change in technology is a big hurdle, particularly when you look at the migration of things like 2G to 3G to 4G to LTE and onward. And price pressures, particularly from overseas competitors, will be a challenge too. At the same time, rapid change in technology can foster opportunities to develop new offerings along the lines of IP, wireless, software as a service and mass notification. And this can present opportunities to investigate adjacent markets, such as expanding from mass notification into public address systems. But to do this, a manufacturer has to be really committed to investing in R&D. Dealers and integrators face challenges from larger, multiregional firms using economies of scale to offer competitive pricing and a broader portfolio of products and services. Dealers have an opportunity to take advantage of our industry’s rapid technological changes to broaden their own offerings and move into adjacent markets. Mass notification is a good example where a dealer who already does security and/or fire, can offer customers various emergency communication solutions too. The biggest challenge for monitoring providers is the content providers like Verizon and Comcast entering their market space. Additionally, a growing number of end users are self-monitoring, using mobile and Web-based video platforms. Another struggle for them is keeping up with changes in communication, but new communication technologies can also open up new doors of business for them.
What type of year in 2015 are you anticipating?
Pakech: Market drivers such as mass notification, wireless, advanced detection, IP connectivity and SaaS are expected to offer modest growth for the fire industry. And many of these are also growth drivers for the security industry. We expect to excel in these areas because we are consistently focused on R&D, which normally leads to a competitive advantage in times of rapid technology changes. The year will present a very dynamic atmosphere for dealers with many company consolidations and the convergence of new industry players. Those in the forefront of grasping new technologies and revenue streams based on adjacencies in their business will have a strong competitive advantage.
What is a pressing security industry issue you expect to remain unresolved?
Pakech: Achieving an open protocol for central station fire alarm communication is a challenge. Between technological advances such as IP and cellular technologies, mixed with all of the changes in the telecom industry, a new generation of communicators needs to be installed. All of these are based on various protocols and it’s causing angst among manufacturers and central stations.
What is something that might surprise security professionals?
Pakech: What seems to be a constant surprise to security professionals is how much the fire alarm market can contribute to the growth of their business. If these professionals are educated and can incorporate it into their business, they would be surprised how much growth opportunity market drivers like CO detection and mass notification can offer. And the information and training is out there â€• in the media, online and right in their own communities. Many manufacturers offer training, it’s one of the things we do best.
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