4 Leaders Ride the Security Integration Wave

Four security integrators explain why the industry needs to pool its resources and send out an SOS to get more able-bodied hands on deck and more.

They say all boats rise with the tide, and sure enough most security systems integrators’ businesses have risen in the wake of an improved economy, high demand for security, technological advances and new service offerings. That’s all well and good, but it’s the companies with the craftiest commanders at the helm – who have fortified their integration vessel’s seaworthiness with tactics, talent and training – that will crest the highest and weather whatever stormy seas rock their boat. Anything less puts a company at risk of springing leaks, being cast adrift or at worst swimming with the fishes.

To help ensure your firm successfully navigates though any choppiness toward smooth sailing ahead, SSI is pleased to present a cornerstone of its annual Bright Ideas Issue – the security integration executive leadership roundtable. Held each year during the PSA-TEC event just outside Denver, this gathering picks the brains of some the sharpest minds from among the industry’s top independent integrators. Aboard for the voyage this time around are Charles Baker (president, California Commercial Security (CCS), San Diego); Bert Bongard (vice president of sales and marketing, Low Voltage Contractors, Minneapolis); Barton Kartoz (vice president, Dynamic Security, Edison, N.J.); and Daniel Prochnow (president, SecurityHunter, Baltimore).

These stalwart security seafarers explore reeling in new customers using bait like networked video, card access, hosted services and systems integration; discuss dipping their toes into the unchartered waters of wearable cameras; and explain why the industry needs to pool its resources and send out an SOS to get more able-bodied hands on deck. So just how shipshape is your business? If you’re ready for the hull truth and nothing but the truth, then stay the course just ahead.

What are the No. 1 or 2 top opportunities you’re seeing now that you are keenly focused on?

DAN PROCHNOW: We are looking at taking advantage of some of the government regulations and mandates around credentialing, and having integrated systems so that we ultimately have one identity credential that could be used throughout. It’s been a long time through Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 and it’s evolved. So staying on top of that area provides lots of opportunities for us in the federal government market.


Another area is video. There’s a lot of money in the video market right now, a lot of wonderful products with advances in camera resolution technology going to high definition. There’s a lot of changes through that we can show our customers, and get them interested. And a lot of good recording technology we can use for forensics later on.

BART KARTOZ: There are some really interesting evolutions happening on the card access side. What we’ve been able to deliver to customers is changing very rapidly. What you could get for $10,000 10 years ago is totally different than what you can get for the same dollars today. That was mostly being driven in the video market, but what we see coming now is in the card access market, the same technology making things smaller, having less power requirements – being able to deliver solutions only marginally more expensive than using a lock and key. We foresee a day when the lock and key will go away, or becomes marginalized, because of the ability of technology to do that and give you an audit trail on what’s happening in the building.

CHARLES BAKER: One thing we’ve been excited about for a long time is hosted-access control. We’re seeing PoE devices, a lot of interesting things happening on the connectivity side. For us, we really bought into and drank the Kool-Aid long and cold on the value of hosting solutions for our clients. The ability to offer them a cloud solution so they don’t have to have that server onsite; they can use their mobile application anywhere to lock or unlock a door, generate a report; view activity, etc.

We’re finding that you have to get good at selling that and explaining the benefits and value to the end user. Some end users will not see it. But we don’t even present access control solutions that aren’t hosted. We went through an evolution where there was an option and then we went through another evolution where it wasn’t an option but a dual presentation. Now it’s simply a hosted solution. I’d say a full 95% of the card access systems we sell are hosted.

The second thing is IP video. As prices come down, as quality improves, as the video management systems become easier to use, we’re able to deploy it more frequently. And in particular, because we like the recurring revenue model and we think it’s a win-win for us and our clients, we like the idea of video monitoring services. We take a high-resolution IP-based system, combine it with video monitoring and video analytics, and it turns into a preventive crime solution as opposed to just a forensic tool. When we can help end users see that video can actually be more than just a forensic tool after something was stolen, or after something was damaged, that we can actually prevent that from happening in the first place, that’s powerful.

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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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