Top Integrators Take Away 5 Crucial Managed Services Tips at Total Tech Summit

The fourth annual Security Sales & Integration Summit brought 100 leading security professionals together as part of the ninth Total Tech Summit.

FORTH WORTH, Texas ― Representatives from some of the electronic security industry’s leading dealers and integrators convened at the convention center here Nov. 4-6 eager to soak up fresh ideas and reinvigorate their companies, network with colleagues from around the country, and strengthen or strike new partnerships with technology and business solutions vendors.

The fourth annual Security Sales & Integration Summit brought those 100 professionals together as part of the ninth Total Tech Summit (TTS), which included another 300 integrators from SSI sister publications CE Pro’s custom home installation and Commercial Integrator’s commercial AV audiences. As in the past, all the attendees were able to interact in a vivid reflection of converging markets.

Combined, those approximately 400 integrators will earn $4.2 billion in 2019 (nearly 9% growth) and perform close to 200,000 installations. Here, they engaged in an itinerary that included educational sessions, keynote, networking events, and vendors expo, presentations and prescheduled one-on-one meetings with attendees.

The SSI Summit featured three panel presentations covering the hot-button topics of managed security as a service, artificial intelligence and analytics, and the education market. The first of those represents one of the greatest opportunities commercial security dealers and integrators have ever seen ― and that’s saying something.

Held the morning of Nov. 5, “Managed Access and Video-as-a-Service: What’s Taking SO LONG?” took on a list of the top obstacles as uncovered by SSI Summit research and asked a panel of access and video as-a-service market leaders to recommend antidotes. Among other things, that research found that integrators either totally or somewhat agree with the following:

  • Offering video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) is a viable option for our business: 90%
  • As a service is the future of our video surveillance business: 86%
  • Offering access control as a service (ACaaS) is a viable option for our business: 94%
  • As a service is the future of our access control business: 88%

The survey also showed that integrators’ top obstacles to pursuing or achieving success with as a service are for both video and access control: cybersecurity concerns and lacking sales/marketing skills for the model. When asked what one thing would be most beneficial to them, integrators’ most common response was more training.

Addressing these concerns and more during the session were SSI Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher Scott Goldfine (moderator), American Security Director of Interactive Services Seth Barcus, Ackerman Security Systems Director of Commercial Operations Leo Buehler and Sentry Alarm COO Chris Hill. Among the questions they fielded were: How do you view the opportunity, and do you have any reservations? Where is your company with it today, considering factors such as platform, partners, marketing, deployment, staffing, sales compensation, pricing and cybersecurity? What have been the top challenges getting it going? What types of customers or markets are you targeting?

Based on that, here are the five takeaways shared with the attendees . . .

  1. You must have a plan. You can’t “wing it” with these offerings. That plan needs to include how you are going to monitor status of the devices, deal with support, training docs, client requests (e.g. video retrieval, access credential changes).
  2. The sales team must be well trained on the value proposition. For video, it’s long-term liability issues (slip and fall), regulations (cannabis and other verticals) and ROI( servers with RAID are an expensive CAPEX). When given an option of $100 per month as a OPEX for 60 months or $4,000 as a CAP cost, many opt for $100 per month, even though it’s $2,000 more.
  3. Shift your current pricing model. It is hard to sell these solutions at the same price as your standard offering. If you typically sell video systems at $500 per camera, then with long-term storage option (RMR) charge $300-$400 per so the CAPEX is less.
  4. Your organization must know the costs associated with bringing an offering to market. Understand your breakeven point and have a realistic timetable to be profitable. Know when you will be at economies of scale, as there are significant costs associated with providing hosted services (e.g. operating Cloud servers/subscriptions to acquire hosted services, operating/maintaining such an environment). If you expect to be profitable on Day 1/Project 1, you are likely either overpricing the service or missing a critical cost in your calculations.
  5. Murphy’s Law: Realize that once you jump into this service offering, your clients will direct you into areas you may not have anticipated (e.g. you offered a hosted environment, and are now being pushed toward remote management). Try to stay ahead of your clients’ needs and develop depth in your operations team to execute changes.

The SSI and Total Tech Summits are invitation-only events involving those dealers and integrators that are very serious about the success of their organizations. SSI’s parent company — Emerald Expositions ― is taking over as organizer of these events so expect the best editions ever for 2020 when TTS sets down in Cleveland. For more information, visit totaltechsummit.com.

About the Author

Contact:

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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