Technical Thirst Remains Unquenched

The electronic security industry has long lamented the dearth of well trained installers and technicians available to the field. Largely unregulated since its inception, through the years the security industry has gone from coveting individuals with basic electrical skills to those with knowledge of more advanced electronics theory to those with systems integration expertise. Today, as physical and logical security continue to converge, the demand has become even more critical as dealers and integrators yearn for experts in IT networking. As much as things change, they do indeed still remain the same.

This is borne out by the results of Security Sales & Integration’s annual survey of security contractors’ top 10 business concerns, where for the second straight year “lack of training” and “technician shortage” finished one-two. Both midsize and small companies graded these issues with a higher level of urgency than they did in 2006. In fact, operators in the $5 million to $9.9 million revenue bracket rated the shortfall of technical talent as the survey’s overall leading operating deficit (3.84).

While the third response (“direct competition from manufacturers”) remained entrenched in the No. 3 spot, “manufacturer consolidation” leaped into the fourth slot after not making this list a year ago. Clearly, installing dealers/integrators are worried about big suppliers acquiring small, independent organizations as well as the trend — again influenced by the convergence phenomenon and manufacturers having more involvement with end users — of being undermined or circumvented altogether in the supply channel.

Rounding out the top five positions is “government regulation,” which inched up a rung from the previous poll. “Acceptance of new technology” and “competition from other security companies” both dropped back two notches. The latter, combined with “competition from network/IT companies” tumbling off the list (No. 11), supports the belief that, despite the challenges, security contractors are doing whatever is necessary to maintain their competitive stronghold — even in a converged world.

About the Author

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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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