Reflecting on 10 Years of Progress

Many years ago, Ron Davis, chairman of Security Associates Intl. (SAI), used his refined oratorical style to tell me that “as much as the security industry changes, it stays the same.” He was referring to the fact that, despite all the explosive technological changes in this business, the basic concept of securing homes, businesses and assets is somewhat unchanged. That also applies to the way alarm systems continue to be sold. It is still key for dealers to engage the prospect and then garner their trust in order to make a successful sale. This year’s SAMMY Awards detail some unique ways dealers are continuing that tradition.

During the past 10 years, a lot has changed in the electronic security industry. The tremendous rise of access control and CCTV, as well as revolutionary innovations like mobile security devices, digital video, and handheld personal digital assistant (PDA)-style interfaces. At least three manufacturers are working to replace the traditional delayed entry keypad with a PDA. The result will be more power, less intimidation for end users and, hopefully, a huge reduction in false alarms.

Speaking of false alarms, 10 years ago in the pages of Security Sales, we were writing about several hot issues, including:

– False Alarms: Long before the Model Cities, Model States and CARE programs were instituted, the industry had a terrible relationship with law enforcement. Now, a decade later, under Stan Martin of ADI’s leadership, the alarm industry works hand-in-hand with police nationwide.

– Mass-marketing companies: Ten years ago, the first rumblings were beginning to surface about the Alert Centre, a controversial mass-marketing firm whose business deals spawned numerous lawsuits. Today, mass marketing is still controversial, but ADT, SecurityLink and Brink’s are leaders in the industry, contributing to numerous industry causes.

– Crime: After a decade of dropping crime rates, the United States is once again facing a new increase in criminal activity, primarily due to demographics. The security industry is well positioned to meet this challenge.

The reason I am reminiscing about 10 years ago is because that’s when you first caught a glimpse of me in the pages of Security Sales. After a successful decade for you and me, this is my final editorial in Security Sales. It’s been great sharing my experiences—from my golf game to my dog to my recent travails with a utility knife—and relating them to the industry. Good luck.

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