ESA Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau Talks Security Technology for 2012

What does 2012 hold in store for your business and the industry? Find out with the many insights offered in SSI‘s annual Industry Forecast, which is featured in our January issue. This year, more than 25 of the industry’s most prominent research firms, trade associations, business and finance specialists, systems integrators, manufacturers, consultants, and alarm companies rendered a deep and sweeping portrait of the impending security landscape. The participants addressed the most significant changes, challenges and opportunities they anticipate taking place during the next 12 months in seven critical areas. They are: security technology; security markets; security industry; business and operations; politics and legislation; risks and threats; and ongoing challenges. With the boundaries of print being too constrained to present all of the fascinating and valuable assessments, each of the respondents’ complete, edited interviews are being offered exclusively online. Happy New Year!

Merlin Guilbeau
Executive Director
Electronic Security Association (ESA)

Security Technology

Merlin Guilbeau: We will continue to move through a turning point in which advanced security technology is flourishing and transforming from novelty to standard. Specifically, consumer zeal for technology due to the Internet and personal electronics like tablets, smartphones and other devices will continue to drive change in our industry. Technology-savvy consumers will continue to look for tools that can enhance their lives and lifestyles. Our opportunity is to put life safety at the heart of their decision. Today’s security systems represent a natural evolution of traditional home security services and monitoring while taking into account the needs of today’s always-connected consumer.

Moving from protection to connection, consumers can use their security systems to save money by adjusting lighting, heating and cooling remotely. They can access secure, real-time video from monitored areas of their home and receive electronic notice via text or E-mail when a son or daughter arrives home from school. Millions of consumers already rely upon their trusted electronic security provider to give 24/7 burglary, fire and carbon monoxide monitoring to help protect their homes and families. But there are many people who have said ‘no’ to having an alarm system in the past who are now interested because of the new functions security systems can offer. Installing and monitoring companies alike that recognize the shift in both the marketplace and technology are in good position to benefit from these changes if they are prepared to deliver these more complex and refined products and services.

A challenge will come from the continuing gradual deterioration of existing infrastructure, such as outdated telephone lines as well as obsolete home and office devices. This presents an opportunity for industry professionals to educate consumers about those changes and emphasize the need for effective, up-to-date security infrastructure and solutions.

Security Markets

Guilbeau: A major challenge is emerging through competition by municipalities and other governmental entities that are increasingly looking at monitoring of intrusion and fire alarms as a potential source of income. More communities are beginning to compete with private sector companies, some are even mandating that residents participate and pay them directly for the monitoring of alarm systems. ESA and other industry groups believe that the practice unfairly puts the private sector at a competitive disadvantage, and also presents a number of other potentially harmful issues such as increased liability, potential conflicts of interest, inadequate technology and training, and increased costs.

Security Business

Guilbeau: Manufacturers, suppliers and integrators alike are recognizing the need to stay in the game by developing and delivering sophisticated services consumers are demanding. Park Associates’ research estimates that between 10% to 20% of installing security contractors are expanding their portfolios beyond traditional security. Key areas include entertainment installation, remote video monitoring and automation offerings. These new areas can present an operational challenge from the perspective of making sure technicians are educated and trained to install and service these systems. To help lead the security industry through this transition phase, ESA has formed a task force of manufacturers, service providers and integrators whose mission it is to help raise awareness about this new area of growth while providing guidance, training and advice to dealers who may just be starting to offer enhanced services. One of the outcomes of the task force has been development of a training curriculum through ESA’s National Training School to serve as an educational resource for companies to ramp up their technician’s knowledge about these new technologies.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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