Signs Indicate Challenging Road Ahead for Electronic Security Industry

SSI‘s 2012 Industry Forecast queries more than two dozen security authorities from all corners of the industry to tell you what to expect and how to target success. While customers expect more and competition is intensifying, security integrators and dealers are uniquely qualified and positioned to come out on top.

<p>Despite 2011 failing to catch fire and finally leave the recession in the rear-view mirror, most industry analysts remain at the very least cautiously optimistic about the New Year. Most worst-case scenarios peg returns as being flat, but many project growth of 10% or more. © Slobodkin</p>Security Markets

Chuck Wilson, Executive Director, National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) — The new commercial construction trends give me a good indicator on which marketplace our members will be working on in upcoming months and years. Anything related to health care, government facilities and public works will see growth. Education, corporate, religious, retail or hospitality will be very soft for the next couple years.

Jeff Kessler, Managing Director, Imperial Capital LLC — A challenge will be convincing European enterprise buyers to initiate large projects in the wake of their weak economies. Also, working to distinguish in the residential customer’s mind the distinction between the great service alarm companies provide and the service challenges associated with cable and telco providers. Finally, there’s the opportunity to build out substantial deployment of MVaas [managed video as a service].

Blake Kozak, Senior Analyst, IMS Research — Fewer end users just want a security system. Most want integration of some kind, either with a mobile phone, video, access control, HVAC and logical access control, etc. Overall, there is more reliance on the Internet and intranets than ever before. With access control, there are more Web-based systems. With intrusion, more are looking for use with a mobile device or computer.

Systems integrators will reduce the number of vertical markets they focus on. Instead, they deliver solutions that provide end users with functionality specific to their industry needs. Take the retail market, for example. Integration with point-of-sale, business intelligence algorithms, such as people counting and customer hotspot analysis, and providing specific solutions to changing rooms and lone-workers will all be importa

Politics and Legislation

Jeff Gorelick, Managing Partner, Gorelick Advisors Law Practice — After years of fighting alarm ordinance battles city by city, I believe the industry has turned the corner in creating a balance between customer needs and police resources. The Security Industry Alarm Coalition has shown flexibility in dealing with police organizations and demands of cities with shrinking budgets. New verification techniques, more foolproof panels and greater customer education will continue to help us avoid the pressures to further diminish police response.

Merlin Guilbeau, Executive Director, Electronic Security Association (ESA) — ESA is joining other industry groups in aggressively pursuing federal legislation that will allow companies in the electronic security industry to access the FBI’s federal database for pre-employment background checks. Customers need to feel assured that the security professionals they deal with have been thoroughly checked and vetted for criminal backgrounds before being hired. Currently there is no standardized process in place for these types of checks and access to the FBI’s database — similar to what is already available for a number of other industries such as banks, credit unions and private security firms.

ESA is also actively working with the Department of Homeland Security to establish a credentialing system that would allow access to the security and fire alarm industry as first responders during heightened threat events, and to develop a method to identify special threats to various classifications of alarm users.

Business and Operations

Joe Liguori, President, Security-Net Inc.; Exec. V.P., Access Control Technologies — The business model has changed dramatically in that everyone has to find a way to accomplish more with fewer resources. That is simply the reality of trying to survive in a price-sensitive world. To that end the opportunity lies in identifying cost efficiency strategies without affecting the quality of the product or service. We look at it as doing more with less and hopefully doing it as well, if not better.

As an example, if you have eight service vehicles supporting an existing client base, is it possible to provide the same quality of service with seven trucks by enhancing the tools and training provided to the service technician? If so, where do the inefficiencies lie or what technology can you utilize to enhance the efficiency quotient? The challenge is trying to understand what is required and the opportunity is finding a mechanism to accomplish it.

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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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