Recently I had the pleasure of returning in person to one of my favorite conferences, PSA TEC. Consisting of owners and members of the largest integrator consortium in the world, it is a great place to really hear what is on the minds of systems integrators.
This year the topic that came up most frequently, both in jokes from the podium and in more serious discussions and casual talk around the breakfast table or cocktail reception, was the problem of supply chain shortages.
No one is ignoring this elephant in the room.
Supply chain problems and related issues of labor shortages and price increases were also dominant concerns of this year’s top security integrators in the Top Systems Integrators Report (link to article).
“Supply chain issues seem to be the biggest barrier right now and into the foreseeable future for 2022,” writes No. 82, Custom Alarm. “In addition to supply chain issues, the continued increases in prices and surcharges and tariffs make it challenging to accurately and profitably quote and sell jobs. This continues to be a big pain point in that we not only find it difficult to get product, but the manufacturers continue to impose price increases numerous times a year even on previously placed orders. This is extremely frustrating.”
In spite of the challenges, however, this year’s top 100 security integrators actually did quite well, regaining much of their revenue dip from last year and managing to increase their full time employee count, all while maintaining steady profits.
One big reason for this success was that while supply might be an issue, demand is not. Customers who weathered the 2020 lockdowns, “great resignation” and work-from-home culture now understand better than ever the value of security. Cybersecurity, managed services, mobile credentialing and AI are all hot commodities right now.
“Cybersecurity tops the list,” says Integrated Security Technologies Inc., ranked No. 10. “Ensuring systems are deployed in a manner in which they are ‘hardened’ and compliant with IT infrastructure policies is paramount. Second on the list would be the adjustments in the workplace, as people return to a post-pandemic environment. Applying technologies such as visitor management, touchless technologies and cyber-secure technologies/services to support the remote workplace are all going to be heavily focused on by companies.”
“In spite of the challenges, this year’s top 100 security integrators actually did quite well, regaining much of their revenue dip from last year and managing to increase their full time employee count, all while maintaining steady profits.”
Others touted gun detection and AI specifically. “Early gunshot detection is available, and I believe we’ll see more of these systems deployed,” writes No. 47, Guardian Protection. “Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies are working to enhance early warning video detection of the presence of a gunman — prior to the first shot. I believe the industry should and will deploy more early warning systems and also help facilitate the inclusion of tactical casualty care training into active attack response planning so that personnel are better equipped to administer aid to the wounded.”
AI also features prominently in this month’s special section, Video Monitoring Today (link). “It’s their extraordinary ability to filter out unwanted alarms that makes AI-based analytics an enabler of video alarm monitoring. Not only can they accurately identify that an alarm was caused by a person — not an animal or something blowing in the wind — they also can provide ample details about each detection,” writes Laura Stepanek in the cover story.
As we sit here more than two years in to a pandemic with soaring gas prices, rising costs and supply chain problems for everything from lumber to chipsets to baby formula, it is reassuring to look at this year’s top systems integrators and see how they are managing to thrive in spite of it all.