Laura Stepanek, Editor

Sci-fi movie buffs will remember the boys on their bikes rushing to get E.T. to the spaceship before lift-off. Greg calls out, “Why don’t they just beam us up?” Balancing the extra-terrestrial in his bike basket, Elliott shouts back, “This is reality!”

This favorite scene comes to mind, as we hear rumors and predictions (again) of the direct-sales model taking over in security. In this model, developers of technology will deliver sophisticated integrated systems directly to the end-user, free of errors and free of yesterday’s distribution channels.

It’s a great idea to replace all the messy steps between concept and reality. And it would be great if the Star Trek transporter worked every time Captain Kirk calls out, “Beam us up, Scotty.”

Recently in this space, we applauded manufacturers for their product developments, which have helped our industry flourish since September 11, 2001. It’s inspiring to see the advancement of technology available in the security market today. At major trade shows, supplier events, and industry conferences, we see technology that does everything but think. Without leaving the desktop, we check out capabilities, features and specs that should leave us speechless. (Take for example, the advances in this issue, “Monitoring with a Twist.”)

Just as impressive, however, is the achievement of dealers, integrators and distributors – in fact, the entire channel that moves technology from concept to product to system to end-user. It’s quite an achievement to satisfy that end-user today, whether in the commercial, industrial, residential or government setting. In a hurry, demanding the best for less, that’s the norm. When the demanding end-user of the security technology is confidently receiving information and intelligence from the electronic system/service today, we can applaud the entire channel. That positive result takes all-out effort by a number of value-adding channel partners. We need to applaud all the fine companies who sell, design, engineer, consult, distribute, deliver, install, troubleshoot, train, monitor and service.

It’s tempting for pundits to applaud the “Beam Us Up” model. The industry does indeed get mired in legacy systems and struggle at times with new technology. Within the channel, the competition is fierce, and the demands are great. Only the strong ones live long and prosper. In reality, you in the channel make it work. And as you know…if you don’t, you can be replaced.